Headlines and Deadlines: A Manual for Copy Editors 9780231883443

A handbook meant to explain the technique of copy editing and the best standards of the metropolitan press to journalist

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Headlines and Deadlines: A Manual for Copy Editors
 9780231883443

Table of contents :
Contents
Note from the Publisher
Foreword
Preface
Part One. Copy
1. Newspaper Organization
2. The Copy Editor
3. Editing the Copy
4. Electronic Editing
5. Abused Words
Part Two. The Headline
6. What the Headline Is
7. How the Headline Looks
8. What the Headline Says
9. How the Headline Says It
10. A Clinic for Ailing Headlines
11. A Headline Vocabulary of Related Words
A Glossary of Newspaper Terms
Index

Citation preview

HEADLINES AND DEADLINES

HEADLINES AND DEADLINES Λ MANUAL FOR COPY EDITORS

by ROBERT E. GARST and THEODORE M. BERNSTEIN

/—*—\ Fourth Edition uL·/

New York — 1982

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PRESS

Clothbound editions of Columbia University Press books are Smyth-sewn and printed on permanent and durable acid-free paper.

Copyright 1933, 1940, copyright © 1961, 1982 Columbia University Press. Fourth edition 1982. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

Columbia University Press New York Guildford, Surrey Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Garst, Robert Edward, 1 9 0 0 Headlines and deadlines. Includes index. 1. Copy-reading. 2. Newspapers—Headlines. I. Bernstein, Theodore Menline, 1904— II. Title. P N 4 7 8 4 . C 7 5 G 3 1982 0^0.4'15 81-21690 ISBN 0-231-04816-5 AACR2 ISBN 0-231-04817-3 (pbk.)

CONTENTS

Note

from

by E d w a r d W.

Foreword,

Preface

xi

Part

Copy

One.

vii

the Publisher

Barrett

ix

1.

NEWSPAPER O R G A N I Z A T I O N

2.

THE COPY EDITOR

23

3.

EDITING THE COPY

4.

ELECTRONIC EDITING

5.

ABUSED WORDS

Part

Two.

The

3

31 66

79

Headline

6.

W H A T THE HEADLINE IS

7.

HOW THF. HEADLINE LOOKS

8.

W H A T THE HEADLINE SAYS

9.

HOW THE HEADLINE SAYS IT

91 ITO 110 131

10.

A C L I N I C FOR A I L I N G HEADLINES

11.

A HEADLINE VOCABULARY OF RELATED WORDS

A Glossary

Index

of Newspaper 223

Terms

215

167

NOTE FROM THE PUBLISHER

PLANS FOR the fourth edition of this book had been initiated before the deaths of both Mr. Garst and Mr. Bernstein. Both authors had in fact submitted their revisions for the new edition, but unfortunately they did not live to participate in the editorial and production stages. The publisher gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Mr. Garst's widow, Edith Evans Asbury, a reporter on The New York l imes for twenty-nine years, in resolving editorial questions. Acknowledgment is also made to the late Richard T. Baker, professor of journalism at Columbia University, for his help in resolving questions of a similar nature. A special note of thanks is due to James F. Lynch, for thirtyfour years a copy editor at The New York Times, who took the photographs that appear in chapter 4, updated the organizational charts in chapter 1, and furnished valuable last-minute information on the current state of computer technology. The greatest instance of editorial changes made without the authors' participation consisted in updating examples of newspaper practice. Some of the examples carried over from earlier editions no longer seemed appropriate. In selecting new examples, every effort was made to adhere to the principles educed by Mr. Garst and Mr. Bernstein, and to use substitutes as close as possible in style to the authors' original choices. In one area—the use of the masculine pronoun—no change

viii

N O T E FROM T H E PUBLISHER

was m a d e f r o m t h e a u t h o r s ' original practice. While recognizing t h e c h a n g e in attitudes in r e c e n t years that has m a d e such usage a s o m e t i m e s prickly m a t t e r of c o n t e n t i o n , t h e p u b lisher felt that imposing beliefs o n t h e a u t h o r s that had not b e e n discussed with t h e m would be m o r e reprehensible t h a n m a i n t a i n i n g a practice that some readers might find distasteful.

FOREWORD

ANYONE WHO has studied or practiced American journalism recognizes the key role of the copy editor. It is these often unsung heroes (and, increasingly, heroines) who largely set the standards of lucid and readable prose in American newspapers, broadcasting and wire-service output. Most of us know of winners of Pulitzer Prizes, great reporters but not great writers, who would be also-rans if their prose had never been touched by a sympathetic, understanding and skilled copy editor. As implied in "Electronic Editing," the wholly new chapter that the authors added to this edition, the impact of the able copy editor is increasing. This results from the simple mechanical fact that computerized equipment greatly facilitates the transposition of sentences and paragraphs, the inserting of clarifying words or clauses, and the general polishing of prose. If copy editors are often heroes, Bob Garst and Ted Bernstein were the heroes' heroes. Probably no two persons played more of a role in raising the level of journalistic prose in this century. As teachers at the Graduate School of Journalism of Columbia University, the team affectionately known as "Garstein" had marked influence on more than a generation of rising young journalists. As authors, they have influenced many more. And, as key staff editors on The New York Times,

χ

FOREWORD

both played significant roles in helping set the patterns that m a n y other news organizations have followed. Garst, as the student of journalistic organization and practices, and Bernstein, as the u r b a n e arbiter of effective Knglish, made an ideal team. It is a cause for rejoicing that these two gifted m e n completed their revisions for the fourth edition of Headlines and Deadlines before their recent deaths. T h e book embodies basic principles and practices that will have validity as long as journalism seeks to be honest, clear and reliable. In such matters as language and deft wordmanship, it is as up-to-date as these two masters, assisted by sophisticated young professionals, could make it. As Dean of Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism for twelve years and as publisher of the Columbia Journalism Review, I considered this book a bible for the young editor. This latest updated edition should continue to play that role as a valued handbook both for copy editors and for journalists generally. Kdward VV. Barrett February 1982

PREFACE

is one field in which the d e m a n d for workers usually exceeds the supply. This is likely to be permanently so because in an ideal sense there never will be a copy editor who knows enough to fill the requirements of the job thoroughly. The ideal copy editor not only would have a complete mastery over the technical work, such as the editing of copy and the writing of headlines, but would possess sound and swift judgment, would be an expert rhetorician and grammarian and would be thoroughly versed in government, politics, astrophysics, h o m e gardening, shoes, ships, sealing wax and all subjects that find or are likely to find a place in the kaleidoscopic enterprise that is the modern newspaper. Obviously, then, no book can furnish all the equipment that the copy editor is expected to bring to his work. A book cannot instill judgment; it cannot supply a broad mental background, which after all, is cumulative. But what it can do is to explain the technique of copy editing. 1'hat is the aim of the present volume. What the authors have sought to do is to set before journalists—practicing, as well as aspiring—the best standards of the metropolitan press. This involves no reflection on rural journalism, for the two are not things apart; rural practice is, rather, an adaptation of metropolitan practice to the more personal and informal needs of the small-town newspaper. COPY KDITING

Xll

PREFACE

While, f r o m t h e point of view of t h e rural press, t h e standards p r e s e n t e d m a y be too rigid, f r o m the point of view of t h e individual n e w s p a p e r m a n they are indispensable if h e wishes to follow his profession into whatever field it m a y beckon him. T h e journalist trained for rural practice alone would be dismayed if suddenly he f o u n d himself on a city daily. O n t h e o t h e r h a n d , t h e journalist equipped with m e t ropolitan standards could adapt himself almost immediately to rural t e c h n i c a l r e q u i r e m e n t s . H e n c e , what this book seeks to d o is not to reform journalism, b u t to train journalists. Its p u r p o s e is to give so thoro u g h a n d basic instruction that t h e copy editor will be able to work o n t h e desk of a n e w s p a p e r a n y w h e r e The copy editor's work falls naturally into two m a i n divisions: editing copy and writing headlines. T h i s book is, therefore, similarly divided. Included in t h e section on editing is a c o n d e n s e d list of "Abused W o r d s " which calls a t t e n t i o n to t h e m o r e c o m m o n errors m a d e in newspapers. A p p e n d e d to t h e section o n headlines is a " H e a d l i n e Vocabulary of Related W o r d s " in w h i c h t h e words are grouped by their m e a n i n g s u n d e r key words listed alphabetically. This list, which should prove useful to t h e h e a d l i n e writer, is believed to be t h e first of its kind so compiled. The i m p o r t a n c e of t h e copy editor's f u n c t i o n is treated elsewhere. S u f f i c e it to set d o w n h e r e that the a u t h o r s consider it to be t h e b a c k b o n e of t h e newspaper a n d , as s u c h , deserving of a book all its own. Editorial writers may, w ithin their limited c o n f i n e s , b e brilliant and persuasive; reporters may be e n t e r prising a n d t h o r o u g h ; b u t it is t h e copy editors w h o h a v e in their keeping ultimately t h e newspaper's r e p u t a t i o n for acc u r a c y , for attractiveness and for intelligence. T h e a u t h o r s acknowledge a debt to colleagues w h o h a v e

xiii

PREFACE

given wise counsel on the contents of this book, but who, in the true newspaper tradition, are content to "keep their names out of print. " T h e authors feel, however, that especial thanks are d u e to the late Professor Charles P. C o o p e r , of the Columbia S c h o o l of Journalism, who suggested the book and guided and inspired its preparation. E x a m p l e s are largely taken from The New York Times. R. κ. G.

T. M. B. New York

PART ONE

COPY

1. NEWSPAPER ORGANIZATION

in newspaper work has long—too long, perhaps—been put upon the reporter. While there is no wish to take from the reporter credit for many superb contributions to the excellence of the modern newspaper, it ought to be realized that there is someone who stands between the reporter and the critical public—the copy editor. T h e sparkling, swift, entertaining story, signed by John Jones of The Daily Star, draws comment and approbation, but it is not often recognized, even by his fellows, that the copy editor's share in the creation of the gem may be as great as if not greater than that of John Jones, reporter.

T H E EMPHASIS

It is not seldom that the wit, ingenuity and craftsmanship of the copy editor rescue from the limbo of unread newspaper stories the uninspired work of John Jones. It is the editorial eye as much as the reportorial keyboard that puts before the public daily the readable information of the world's happenings. It is the copy editor who is essentially the guardian of what gets into the newspaper and how it looks when it gets there. T h e copy editor detects the errors, corrects the English, cuts out the dead wood of verbiage, tones the story up to its proper pitch or down to the level required by good taste or the libel laws. T h e appeal of the reporter's work is great; the activity, the contact with the world, with its great men and with its ideas, make the stimulation of the job unparalleled in any profession.

4

NEWSPAPER ORGANIZATION

But the copy editor is closer to the heart of the newspaper's power; he is indeed, its heart. Under his eyes flow the accounts of all important happenings anywhere. This sense of closeness to vital things, plus the ability to shape information about them so that their importance will be shown in true perspective, make the copy desk job second to none. Whatever the respective merits of the copy editor's and the reporter's work, both are cogs in a machine that has only one object: to gather and publish quickly information of events. The newspaper strives to put before its readers dailv the interesting and important happenings that have occurred or have become known in the preceding 24 hours. Information, to be news, must be new, fresh, immediate, and it is the reporter's task to gather and write it quickly and the copy editor's to hasten it through the news machine into print. T o meet the requirements of his position properly, the copy editor must have a detailed knowledge of the highly developed organization that has been set up to speed copy to his desk and through his hands into print. The machine is linked to all parts of the world by radio, cable, telephone, telegraph, ship, plane, train, and satellite. Internally the newspaper office is equipped to transfer words from copy to print in minutes. T h e effort is perpetual to draw widespread information to a focal point and send it out again as a newspaper. Not only is speed requisite in the gathering and the printing of the news; it is paramount also in imparting information to the reader. T h e newspaper story is constructed so that the most information can be told in the least time. To convey its message effectively, the story must be clear, concise, emphatic. The important facts must come first, the less important follow in their order. T h e headline, likewise, is a device to tell the news quickly. It is a further condensation of a story that

NEWSPAPER ORGANIZATION

5

has already been stripped to its essentials in the introduction. T h e headline must be specific and forceful. Excess must be shorn away; facts must be set forth to the point of baldness. It must not be supposed that this speed is uncontrolled; it is that of efficient men trained to their work. It is not achieved at the expense of thoroughness or accuracy, without which their efforts would be valueless. THE: MANAGING EDITOR

At the head of the news organization is the managing editor. From him or through him comes the driving force that keeps the machine at its most efficient point. On him depends the morale of the organization. His chief efforts are concerned with news gathering. He is informed of the world's events and, through subordinate editors, obtains accounts of these happenings for the newspaper's readers. Essentially his object is simple; actually the attainment of that object is extremely complex. His plans cannot be hit and miss; they must be laid with minute care. It is in this that the qualities of the managing editor are shown to the best advantage. For example, let it be supposed that the newspaper prints a small story of an outbreak of hostilities in Peru. This item is read by the managing editor as a routine part of his duties. Has it possibilities? Is it worth while to send a special correspondent to watch the situation? A decision on this will depend very little on the facts given in the story. It will depend rather on his knowledge of the general conditions in Peru, whether these are such that there might be further disorders, what effect such violence might have on the country itself and what effect it might have on the relations of the United States with Peru and Peru's with other nations. Answers to such questions

6

NEWSPAPER ORGANIZATION

hinge not upon the immediate situation, but upon the managing editor's store of historical knowledge about the country and its problems. It hinges also on a sensing of possibilities, in short on news sense. If he decides to send a correspondent, the next problem is to select the right person. The assignment is a delicate and a responsible one, perhaps even dangerous. The choice must be wise. In making it, the editor relies on knowledge of the staff s abilities and character. Success or failure in obtaining a story often depends on selecting the right person for the assignment. T h e next step is getting the reporter to the scene, equipped with detailed instructions, if necessary, of what to do. This is often vital in order to maintain contact between the office and the reporter. How to send stories is frequently a major difficulty. There may be a censorship, or for other reasons communication may be erratic. Various plans should be considered, leaving it to the reporter to make the best of whatever situation he finds. Covering a national election is another major problem of organization. A vast temporary framework of communication with all parts of the country must be set up. Correspondents in strategic places must be obtained and instructed in detail concerning what information to send and when to sent it. This is a task that requires several months. The outline of the campaign is worked out by the managing editor and his assistants put it into effect. This is the field work. The managing editor must also prepare the internal organization for election night. New, temporary schedules for editors, reporters, copy editors, composing room and pressroom forces must be thought out in detail. Virtually the whole machine must be shifted about for the

NEWSPAPER ORGANIZATION

7

handling of one vast news story. When this is completed and the machine begins to function on election night, the managing editor takes full charge of the editing, makeup and printing. The successful managing editor plans to meet difficulties before they arise. He does not rely solely on one plan; he lays alternate plans for use if the most promising fails. If he cannot get the information he wants from one source he gets it from another; if he cannot get it at one time, he does not shelve the idea as impossible, but waits and obtains it when possible. The function of the principal editors is the selection of news, judging what events are the most vital and most worth covering. This is the managing editor's chief role. He studies events and brings to the newspaper reader news of those that are interesting and important. THE CHIKK KDITORS

Downward from the managing editor spreads the organization to reporters and correspondents, the gatherers of news, upon whom the whole newspaper structure rests. His immediate assistants are the city, national and foreign editors; the first directs the gathering of the news in the city where the newspaper is published and in its immediate vicinity; the second, the gathering of the news in the United States outside the city of publication; and the third, the gathering of the news in foreign countries. Other editors assisting him are the heads of specialized departments such as financial and business, sports and culture. On a large morning newspaper there are duplicate editors for day and night to cover the span of the paper's operation, the day editors generally carrying the chief title and the burden of the position. This is by no means the common system, but

8

NEWSPAPER O R G A N I Z A T I O N

it illustrates the thorough covering and editing of news by departments; and the functions, if not the individual editors, exist in most city newspaper organizations. For example, most newspapers do not maintain foreign news-gathering facilities, but the function of the foreign editor remains, whether on the day or the night staff. A newspaper that does not have a foreign staff may have a single correspondent in any center abroad, or it may rely on the wire services. Likewise in the succeeding pages the copy-desk system is divided into three—city, national and foreign—for illustrative purposes, whereas the general practice is either to combine the national and foreign copy desks or to set u p a "universal" desk on which all copy is edited. The City Editor. In the h o m e city of the newspaper and in its vicinity the news-gathering machinery is elaborate. Since the business life of the newspaper is sustained by the community in which it exists, and since the greater part of its circulation is there, local news must be covered in great detail. For the same reason, a substantial part of the news that is printed is of local origin. At the head of this part of the machine is the city editor. News judgment, executive ability and a store of information of names and events are his chief qualifications. He should know his city, not only its geography but also its history; the masses of its people as well as its important residents. He need not have encyclopedic knowledge, but the background against which he views the world should be broad and h u m a n . This is apart from his ability to know news when he hears of it. News judgment is not essentially a thinking process; it is an instinct built upon many things forgotten. If a local disaster occurs, it is the city editor's task to get reporters to the scene quickly. Not only must they be at the

NEWSPAPER ORGANIZATION

9

spot, but each also must have a clear idea of the precise part to be played in gathering the details of the event. It is the city editor's function to instruct each person fully and clearly, so that no confusion will result and so that every angle of the story will be covered. Not all the reporters will write what they see or the facts they gather. T h e editor must pick his best men for that purpose; the others will get information, investigate and report their findings to the men who will organize and write the stories. For example, a train wreck would be divided into the following angles: the story of the accident itself; stories of eyewitnesses or passengers; the engineer's story; the list of injured, or of the dead and the injured; the color story of the scene; photographs of the scene. In addition, if any were killed, or if any of the injured or dead were important persons, queries would be sent to various places for information regarding them. Here, then, are eight angles, each of which will require at least one reporter and some of them several. Other angles might crop up as information regarding the accident reaches the city editor. If the wreck is a serious one, another reporter would be assigned to write a story of past similar accidents. T h e reporter who is to write the lead story of the accident should be sent to the scene if time permits; if time is short, he should remain in the newspaper office and take information by telephone from the reporters on the ground. It is his duty to organize the mass of detail that comes to him. T h e subsidiary stories are written by the reporters sent to the scene, if they have time to gather the facts and return to the office; otherwise they also telephone the facts to the rewrite staff. It is a sudden development, like the foregoing illustration, that tests the city editor. It creates a problem that must first be visualized; then a course of action must be mapped out,

10

NEWSPAPER ORGANIZATION

and then action taken swiftly and with certainty. His plan of campaign depends on the size and abilities of his staff. If he has few reporters, each must be assigned carefully to obtain the best results; if he has many, the task is more easily and more thoroughly accomplished. But if his plan is loose and illconceived and the disposition of his men inefficient, the result will be confusion. The assignment sheet is the city editor's chart. On it is designated each story to be covered and the name of the reporter assigned to cover it. Every reporter is informed daily, usually orally but also by note, what his assignment is to be. This chart serves also as the city editor's record of the disposition of all men under his supervision. Much news is of spontaneous origin. In such cases the city editor is dependent on his reporters in strategic posts to learn of the event and inform him. He relies also upon the news services and upon outside sources. Any event anywhere is reported eventually in the newspaper office, as well as rumors of much that never happened. In general, however, the newspaper safeguards itself by posting men in places where news ordinarily originates. Future scheduled events are recorded in a "futures" file, on which the city editor relies in the routine of planning assignments. These records may be newspaper clippings, announcements issued by the organizations concerned or publicity agents' copy. The staff of reporters of a large newspaper may range from a score to a hundred. Many of them are specialists, versed in particular fields, such as public utilities, politics, labor questions, religious matters, science or art; others are feature writers, skilled at describing events colorfully, imparting the flavor as well as reporting the facts; still others are general assignment reporters, able to cover any occurrence efficiently and completely.

NEWSPAPER ORGANIZATION

11

There are reporters with fixed assignments or beats, such as those covering the courts, city hall and other public buildings. These men produce most of the day's news, for they are placed in the spots where news ordinarily originates. Other reporters are assigned regularly to police headquarters and to various districts throughout the city; their duty is to report spontaneous stories, to be alert for any news development, and to verify or to cover any angle of stories developing elsewhere. Suburban correspondents constitute a considerable part of the city editor's staff. They are reporters in outlying towns or cities, often employed directly by the metropolitan newspaper, but usually employed by newspapers in their own communities. The city editor keeps in touch with them by telephone, generally ordering stories but sometimes accepting also those that the correspondent has covered on his own initiative. National and Foreign Editors. The more the source of news recedes from the home office, the scantier become the means of reporting. Thus the day national and foreign staffs are similar to but far less complex than the day city staff organization. T h e national and foreign editors act in a supervisory or directing capacity only. Removed from the scenes of action, they can merely advise, or give orders by means of telephone, telegraph or cable. T h e larger newspapers have established bureaus or maintain correspondents in many cities of the United States, notably in Washington. T h e Washington correspondent of a large newspaper is a directing news gatherer, virtually a city editor with a staff of reporters under his control. He is to a large extent independent of the home office and is responsible for covering the news fully in his city. Spread over the country, however, in all important centers and in many smaller cities, are scores of correspondents who

NEWSPAPER ORGANIZATION

13

supply stories of news events in their territories only on request, or only after asking the home office whether the story is desired and how much to send. Scanning the domestic field and ordering stories is, in general, the function of the national editor. In the same manner the foreign editor controls the gathering of news abroad. Still farther from the scene of action, his duties are even more generalized than those of the national editor. As in the case of the Washington correspondent, the heads of bureaus in capitals abroad act as city editors in the cities where they are stationed and as national editors for the countries. Under each is a staff, generally small, of reporters familiar with the country concerned and with its politics and language. The foreign editor in the home office exercises general oversight over the whole foreign field. Not the least of his duties is keeping watch on the skeletonizing by correspondents abroad of cable copy, which, when properly done, may save the newspaper many thousands of dollars yearly in cable tolls. tuf. " n i g h t side" of a morninc newspaper These chief editors gather or direct the gathering of most of the news. In the late afternoon the "night side," whose functions are to edit and to print the newspaper, takes control. Each editor is duplicated at night by an editor whose duties are similar, although modern practice is to fix hours of duty so that the responsible executive is available during the vital hours of news gathering and editing. Thus there is an over-all night executive, usually called the news editor, with a number of assistants, varying with the size of the newspaper, who exercises general control over the gathering of news of events happening at night and over the editing, placing and printing of all news stories.

14

NEWSPAPER ORGANIZATION

T h e process of "taking over" by the night staff is important, since it is vital that no break occur between the day and the night activities. In the case of the city editor, this is accomplished by the transferring of the assignment sheet by the day editor to his night counterpart, the record itself being supplemented by oral explanations of the covering or the treatment of stories. In the case of the national and foreign editors, no personal transfer takes place except in special situations, but the night men, by scanning the messages that have been sent and received, obtain a picture of what has been done during the day. The Night Editors. Assuming all the responsibilities of the city editor, his night assistant in addition has control of the writing of most of the news, including that covcrcd during the day, a function little exercised by the day executive. He tells the reporter how much space he may have and, if necessary, how to construct the story. His staff is supplemented also by reporters covering specified districts, duplicating the day system, and by rewrite men who take the facts of stories over the telephone from district men or correspondents and who write the stories. The latter usually take advantage of shorthand or symbols developed by themselves to facilitate the process of getting news by telephone. Generally they have been graduated from the ranks of reporters and frequently have unusual gifts of imagination. To draw out a story from the reporter at the scene, to organize it in the mind quickly, to grasp at once its news features and value, require experience and ingenuity of a high order. Under the night editor's direction also is the city copy desk, made up of a head of the desk and copy editors. With the night editor begins the process of editing the news, which is continued to completion by the copy editors.

NEWSPAPER ORGANIZATION

15

A similar system is in effect for both the national and foreign staffs. For these night editors the foreign and domestic bureaus and correspondents make up the reporting staffs. The aid of reporters on the night city staff, however, is frequently asked by these editors to rewrite a story that is not properly written by their correspondents and to provide background material from clippings or other sources for out-of-town stories. Afternoon newspapers have the same general organization, as to function at any rate. But their problems differ and are multiplied because they are reporting, editing and publishing during the day hours when news events are occurring. Assignments of their reporting staff are similar to those of morning newspaper procedure but the bulk of their news content is produced by rewrite men from facts telephoned by reporters at the scene. They must keep up, edition by edition, with developments as they occur. They work by telephone largely, shift their display of stories as their staff reports, play the "spot news" hard. They lack time for a moderate period of reflection and judgment of the relative value of news occurrences. Their executive staff also is less elaborate than that of the large morning paper, the functions being concentrated in fewer men. The remaining important night executive is the makeup editor. As the liaison between the news room and the composing room, he has authority in both departments and is subordinate only to the night editor in charge and his assistants. His chief concerns are to place stories properly in reference to the space required by advertisements and to typographical appearance, and to get the paper to press on time. Working from dummy pages that indicate the placing and the space occupied by display advertisements and from schedules or proofs of news stories, he organizes the page layouts and

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NEWSPAPER ORGANIZATION

indicates to the composing-room paste-up force where the news stories are to appear. The dressing up of the newspaper to make the display of news attractive depends upon the makeup editor and his assistants. Late in the afternoon city reporters return to the office prepared to record in news stories the events of the day. Over the cable wires and through the air by radio telephone comes the record of the day's happenings from the foreign bureaus. By telegraph, telephone, and over leased wires begin to flash the stories of events in the domestic field. The electronic system of handling hard copy of news stories, described in some detail in chapter 4, has eliminated the vast flood of manuscript copy into the hands of editors. Instead, the "copy" is stored in the computers' banks and any individual story can be recalled from these banks for judgment by the various editors and for detailed editing by computer at the various copy desks. A system of summaries has been devised as one method of keeping a record of the important stories. Under this system, the city editor requires each reporter to summarize in 50 to 100 words the main points of his assignment. The national editor receives from the Washington bureau schedules summarizing briefly all stories of importance that will be filed; for other stories he relies on the information contained in the orders sent out by the day editor. Owing to the cost of foreign messages, no schedules are sent from the foreign bureaus, but the same purpose is served by summaries written on the foreign copy desk. The whole editing process is governed by the amount of space available for news. Taking into consideration the number of columns of advertising matter, the higher night editors determine the total allotment for news. T he number of pages

18

NEWSPAPER ORGANIZATION

for an issue is fixed in consultation with the advertising department and is normally based on past experience for the day or season. The average news content tends to become standardized. T h e ratio of advertising to news is variable, and it is neither a good business nor a good editorial policy to establish a fixed ratio. The tendency is to expand the newspaper when the volume of news and of advertising is large and to contract it when the volume of both is small. If, however, the volume of advertising is small, the news space is not necessarily reduced in order to keep down the size of the paper. The size is fixed by daily conditions. In most offices the minimum routine requirement for news space stays at about the same level and is rarely cut drastically; on the other hand it frequently is expanded if the news volume makes that course necessary. The space allotted for news is divided among city, national and foreign editors, each receiving approximately the amount that he estimates he will require. Each editor is guided by this allotment in judging the space that may be given to any story. SUPPLEMKNTARY DE PARTMENTS

In the estimate of total news columns, allowance must be made also for other departments, operating semi-independently of the news department, but under the supervision of the night editors. Among these are the sports department, made up of reporters versed in sports matters and specialized copy editors; the financial and business department, composed of writers and copy editors who are authorities in their field; the culture department, made up of drama, motion picture, ballet, music, art and book critics and reporters of news in each of these fields. The divisions range from one-man departments on smaller newspapers to departments employing a score or more per-

NEWSPAPER ORGANIZATION

19

sons, each with a specialized task, on the large newspapers. T h e division of the newspaper organization depends entirely upon its size and resources. T h e news of each department may be edited by semi-independent copy desks made up of special copy editors, but usually all copy goes to the general copy desks and is edited in the same manner as general news copy. T h e product of all these departments is news and differs not at all from general news in importance. News is departmentalized solely to facilitate gathering and to insure expert treatment. Allotment of space for departmental news is made at the same time as that for general news. Space must be allotted also for pictures, the amount depending on the newspaper's policy. If news pictures or photographs of persons are desired, a news picture service, perhaps maintained by the newspaper itself, supplies them, and the cuts are made either by the newspaper's own art department or by outside plants specializing in such work. THE FRONT PAGE

From the great number of stories that enter the newspaper office in a single night, six to ten or more must be selected for the front page. In some offices this responsibility falls upon one of the assistants to the night editor in charge, and it is to facilitate his work that the summaries of news stories are kept. In other offices the conference system is used, under which the city, national and foreign editors confer with the higher executives, and recommend for the first page their chief stories. In this case, summaries are unnecessary. Many stories are obviously page one stories; others are doubtful. On the latter, conferences may be held by the editor in charge of the task with his colleagues or superior. If there are more stories of sufficient importance to be displayed on

20

NEWSPAPER ORGANIZATION

the front page than space permits, they must be weighed against one another. T h e right-hand side above the fold of the paper is the best display space because that quarter of the newspaper can be seen if the paper is folded on the newsstand. T h e editor who selects page one stories must consider balance also, and so place one-column and two-column boxes, pictures, maps and other typographical devices so that the display is attractive. This is especially important when the lead story requires a headline that spreads over two, three, or more columns. Such a layout frequently alters the display value of the columns and requires special care in balancing the whole page. Balance does not necessarily mean regularity, which may serve only to diminish the display value of the whole page. In addition to the chief stories selected for page one, minor short stories may also be used to break up long columns of type or to give a pleasing effect of irregularity. T h e front page of a morning newspaper may not change from first edition to last, but the afternoon newspaper, with perhaps six editions, is likely to change the page one makeup for each edition. This is because the afternoon paper is being published while most of the day's news events are occurring and continual shifting of stories is necessary to keep pace with events. T h e early or "bulldog" edition of an afternoon newspaper may contain chiefly the same stories that appeared in the late editions of the morning newspapers in a rewritten form. As new events occur, however, the early stories are shifted from the first page to the inside of the paper and from the forward pages to the back, until finally the least important drop out and the more important are retained on less conspicuous pages, unless new developments enhance their value.

NEWSPAPER ORGANIZATION

21

THK COMPOSING ROOM

The old-time composing room, in which the outstanding feature was an array of linotype machines, for nearly a century the backbone of the publishing industry, has almost disappeared with the advent of the computer. The striking element now is the long rows of tables, desks and racks for pasting up page forms of proofs typeset by the computer, plus various electronic machines for producing plates for the printing presses. THK DEADLINE APPROACHES

By the time the page one makeup has been determined, the deadline for the first edition is approaching. Dummies of the front page go to the city, national and foreign editors and to the makeup editor. Guided by it, the copy desks write the proper headlines for the designated stories. Working from proofs, schedules from the various desks, and instructions from the news editors, the makeup staff dummies pages as quickly as possible and sends them to the paste-up staff in the composing room where other makeup people supervise the operation. The makeup work proceeds in relays by fixed schedule. Some newspapers set an early deadline for the financial news so that the back pages are out of the way when the rush of general news makeup begins. The schedule may call for the completion of from four to sixteen page forms every twenty minutes, depending on the number of pages in the issue and on the newspaper s size and facilities. The first page form usually is the last to be filled. At times pages are held for a few minutes in order to get into the first

22

NEWSPAPER O R G A N I Z A T I O N

edition a last-minute story, but delay is avoided when possible. T h e time of the deadline has been set to meet circulation requirements, and a few minutes lost in the composing room may cause tardy deliveries at trains for distribution in the suburbs and elsewhere. The First Edition. After the first edition deadline has been passed, a temporary lull settles on the news room. T h e n the vibration of the great presses can be felt. In a few minutes the first edition, still wet and smelling of printer's ink, comes up from the pressroom. It is corrected, cut and added to. T h e second edition is the next goal. It appears soon afterward, and the first is already history7. If the organization of a large newspaper seems to be so complex as to be bewildering, it can be pointed out that this complexity is more apparent that real. T h e functions are simple. T h e editor of a small paper in a county seat does the same work on a smaller scale. If he solicits his own advertising, he is functioning as the business department. He is his own reporter, collecting and writing local news; he is the copy editor and headline writer; he is the managing editor and makeup editor; the editorial writer and probably the compositor and printer and pressman and distributor. If he has correspondents throughout the county and a state or national wire service he is a national editor; and if his paper is large enough to have a fuller world service, he becomes a foreign editor also. If his paper should grow, requiring the adding of employees, he would begin the división of labor, and the functions of gathering, editing and printing news would be distributed among several persons. He would meet new conditions with a more complex organization, just as the large newspaper expands its structure to meet the conditions of keen competition and demands for speed.

2. THE COPY EDITOR

ERRORS creep into newspaper copy from many sources. News passes through many hands; it is garbled in transmission; it is written and rewritten by men of varied ages, education and temperament; it is read and edited under similar conditions. Wrong perspective or partisanship, too much enthusiasm or too little, may handicap a story. T h e very speed with which newspapers must be printed permits mistakes to slip by the many persons who handle news in its course through the news machine. T h e continuous struggle of the newspaper is to eliminate errors. Many checks have been set up against them and the chief of these is the copy editor. THF. IMPORTANCE OF THF COPY FDITOR

T h e copy editor is virtually the last man between his newspaper and the public. T h e copy may have been read several times before it reaches him, but its ultimate form, phraseology and spirit rest in his hands. Mistakes or poor writing that pass him are almost certain to reach the reader in print. They may be detected in the office in time to be corrected, but many such blunders are never discovered except by the newspaper reader. T h e greatest weapon of the copy editor in his efforts to eliminate errors is an alertness that challenges every fact, every name, virtually every word. Every fact should be checked. Those that appear incorrect and cannot be verified must be

24

T H E COPY EDITOR

eliminated. Statements that are absurd or dangerous are deleted without question. Likewise the facts should be weighed against o n e a n o t h e r to assure consistency. T h e function of the copy editor is critical, not creative. In n o circumstances should he rewrite a story completely. If it cannot be saved except by being rewritten, that work should be d o n e by a rewrite m a n or by the reporter who wrote the original story. T h e desk m a n must cope with the material that is given him and make the most of it by recasting, striking out superfluous words, substituting active or colorful words for dead ones, expressing a phrase in a word and by other similar means. T h e finished product should be concise, forceful, complete. This should be the copy editor's aim with every story, not merely with the important ones. A great news story virtually tells itself; it is t h e brief stories that most often are allowed to slip by without careful editing. Any story can be improved, even though the editing consists of transposing a word, shifting a punctuation mark, substituting a concrete word for a general one, or an Anglo-Saxon verb for a Latin one. Leaving unaltered one word that should be changed is not a trivial matter. T h e careful copy editor leaves nothing to chance. His object is not only to correct errors, but also to improve. With a unanimity that is somewhat disconcerting to the copy editor, reporters profess to regard him as a mutilator of good copy, and there is some ground for this opinion. There are some desk m e n temperamentally unfitted to make the most of another man's writing; their conception of what a story should be is so strong that virtual rewriting is the only course they can follow. S u c h m e n must be restrained, and, if they remain copy editors, trained to the editorial viewpoint rather

T H E COPY EDITOR

25

than to the reportorial. T h e general aim of the copy desk is to preserve as far as possible the words of the reporter, if they express what he desires to convey, and to retain the spirit imparted by him, if it is proper. As the final link in a long and expensive process, the copy editor can destroy the honest work of many reporters. The business of writing and editing news is a cooperative undertaking, demanding the best of many brains. There is no place for pride of authorship. T h e desk man should recognize and retain the merits of the story given to him to edit; the reporter should realize that the copy editor often saves him from grave mistakes and generally improves his work. The Copy Desk. The copy desk usually is U-shaped. The head of the desk sits at the center of the curve; his position is known as the "slot," and he himself, sometimes, as the "slot man." The copy editors sit "on the rim." The head of the desk brings to his computer screen from the storage banks each story in the local report, reads it to form an opinion of the required headline information, edits it as closely as he wishes, and passes it to one of the copy editors, who calls the story to his own computer screen. When the copy has been edited in detail and headlined, it is returned to the head of the desk. If the edited copy and the headline meet with his approval, both are sent to the composing room. If there is criticism of either, the necessary corrections are made in the copy or the headline is rewritten or rephrased. In giving copy to his editors the head of the desk takes into consideration their abilities or their special knowledge. Like reporters, there are some who are experts in special fields, such as politics, labor questions, railroads, art or literature; others are especially adept at writing feature headlines and still others are able to cope with stories of any kind. Some are

26

T H E COPY E D I T O R

slow, careful editors; others are quick as well as accurate. Speed is a necessity when the deadline draws near. How the copy editor deals with copy and headlines is described at length in subsequent chapters. His approach to the task depends largely on his abilities. A good method in the case of a long or a complicated story is to read the copy once simply for information and to gain a general idea of its structure. Probably in this reading any obvious inconsistencies in facts or faults in construction will be detected and corrected, by editing in the former case and by rearrangement in the latter. T h e next step is a second reading for close editing, with attention to the standards set forth later. A third reading of the edited copy, while not necessary in many instances, is an additional safeguard to assure a product as finished as it lies in the power of the copy editor to achieve. Not until the copy has been carefully corrected is the copy editor in a position to consider the headline. His alterations may modify the point of view or qualify the statement of the facts in such a way that a headline built on the original copy would have been incorrect or distorted. When the editing is completed it is often helpful as preparation for writing the headline for the editor mentally to stand away from the story so that he may view it as a whole rather than in detail. This method is not necessarily to determine the news point, which at this stage should be obvious, but to discover the most effective way to tell the news in the headline; whether, for example, to write a broad, all-inclusive headline or a narrow, more specific one that singles out one phase of the story. The Copy Editors Background. T h e education, experience and knowledge of the copy editor cannot be too broad. T h e more he has learned, seen or knows, the greater his value to

T H E COPY EDITOR

27

the newspaper. He should have a wide knowledge of names, places and events; he must be well-informed in the arts, sciences and social trends; he should know history' and literature and be familiar with the machinery of governments and law. It is imperative that he be acquainted with his own city, if he is an editor of local copy. He must know its geography, its people, its government, its officials, its buildings. If he is an editor of national copy, he must have a wide knowledge of national politics, movements, figures and events. Copy editors dealing with legislation in the national or in state capitals should have detailed information about the machinery of legislatures. If the editor is dealing with foreign copy he must know much about the politics, economics and government of the countries concerned and of their recent history at least. Finally the copy editor must have common sense. T h e logic he uses to test the reasonableness of assertions in news stories is the same logic he applies in everyday affairs. THE VALUE OF REFERENCE BOOKS

Whatever the store of information, memory cannot always be trusted. It is necessary to verify. Familiarity with the common reference books is invaluable to the copy editor. If he does not know or cannot recall a name, a date, or any other fact, he should know where they can be found. It is worthwhile for every copy editor to investigate the reference shelves of his office so that he can put his hand on the proper book quickly. Most newspapers have "morgues" where newspaper and sometimes other clippings concerning events and persons are filed. Many questions of fact can be determined quickly by reference to these clippings. S o m e newspapers also have libraries where difficulties on questions more remote than those ordinarily

28

T H E

C O P Y

EDITOR

arising in editorial w o r k c a n b e settled. N e w s p a p e r s m a y have

access to c o m p u t e r

York Times Information

r e t r i e v a l s y s t e m s s u c h as t h e

also New

Bank.

S o m e o f the m o r e c o m m o n r e f e r e n c e books are the following: DICTIONARIES ( N o t o n l y f o r d e f i n i t i o n s a n d s p e l l i n g , b u t also f o r hist o r i c a l n a m e s a n d d a t e s . F o r e i g n d i c t i o n a r i e s are o f t e n h e l p f u l . ) ENCYCLOPEDIAS TELEPHONE DIRECTORIES ( f o r s p e l l i n g o f n a m e s a n d f o r h o m e l o c a t i o n s ) CITY DIRECTORIES ( f o r s p e l l i n g o f n a m e s , h o m e l o c a t i o n s a n d businesses) THE COLUMBIA-LIPPINCOTT GAZETTEER ( f o r p l a c e n a m e s , l o c a t i o n s a n d geographical descriptions) OFFICIAL STANDARD NAMES GAZETTEERS OF THE UNITED STATES BOARD OF GEOGRAPHIC NAMES THE WORLD ALMANAC ( f o r g e n e r a l f a c t u a l i n f o r m a t i o n ) NEW YORK TIMES INDEX WHO'S WHO WHO'S WHO IN AMERICA WHO'S WHO IN NEW YORK WHO'S WHO IN CANADA WHO'S WHO IN AUSTRALIA WHO'S WHO IN ART WHO'S WHO IN LABOR WHO'S WHO IN GOVERNMENT ( s t a t e s m e n o f t h e w o r l d ) WHO'S WHO IN FINANCE AND INDUSTRY WHO'S WHO IN FRANCE WER IST WER? ( W h o ' s W h o o f G e r m a n y ) THE EUROPA YEARBOOK STATESMAN'S YEAR BOOK YEAR BOOK OF AGRICULTURE AMERICAN YEAR BOOK ( r e c o r d o f e v e n t s a n d p r o g r e s s ) AMERICAN MEN AND WOMEN OF SCIENCE STATISTICAL ABSTRACT OF THE UNITED STATES HISTORICAL STATISTICS OF THE UNITED STATES LEGISLATIVE MANUAL ( N e w Y o r k S t a t e ) BURKE'S PEERAGE, BARONETAGE, KNIGHTAGE ( n a m e s a n d ranks o f R o y a l F a m i l y a n d t h e British n o b i l i t y )

the

THE COPY EDITOR

29

DEBRETT'S PEERAGE, BARONETAGE, KNIGHTAGE AND COMPANIONAGE SOCIAL

REGISTER (names and family connections of prominent persons) STANDARD AND POOR'S REGISTER MOODY'S BANK AND EINANCE MANUAL MOODY'S INDUSTRIAL MANUAL MOODY'S PUBLIC UTILITY MANUAL MOODY'S TRANSPORTATION MANUAL

DIRECTORY OF DIRECTORS (officers of corporations in N e w Y o r k ) JANE'S FIGHTING SHIPS (general and t e c h n i c a l information a b o u t war-

ships throughout the world) JANE'S ALL T H E WORLD'S AIRCRAFT

ARMY REGISTER (list of officers, active and retired) NAVY REGISTER

LLOYD'S REGISTER OF SHIPPING ( n a m e s and facts a b o u t

commercial

ships) RECORD OF THE AMERICAN BUREAU O F SHIPPING AYER DIRECTORY OF PUBLICATIONS WORKING PRESS O F T H E NATION WILLING'S PRESS GUIDE STATISTICS SOURCES

T h e habit of reading newspapers, particularly their own, is necessary to copy editors as well as to editors and reporters. To know what the new development of a continuing story is, one must know what has been printed. It seems elementary that the newspaper man should know what is in his own newspaper, but many are careless in this respect. T h e copy editor who does not read it thoroughly it not competent to handle a news story acceptably. This is especially true for students of journalism. Intelligent reading of the newspapers is the groundwork for any progress they may hope to make in the profession. It is impossible to learn anything about newspapers unless they are read for information and analyzed for technical knowledge. It is taken for granted that the copy editor knows English grammar and how to write good English. Something more

30

THE COPY EDITOR

should be required. He should be a student of language because he is to a great extent its guardian. Colloquialisms and slang that are ordinary in speech should be permitted to appear infrequently in newspaper writing. T h e ultimate value of the copy editor rests solely on his conception of what purpose his newspaper must serve and his ability to help it achieve that end.

3. EDITING THE COPY

THK MISTAKKS c o m m o n to all copy are those of word usage, spelling, punctuation and grammar.

T h e English used in the newspaper should be that common to all well-educated persons. Language divides naturally into four groups: literary, common, colloquial and slang. Common usage is preferred, because it sets a single standard; the literary is too stilted, although the tendency probably should be toward the literary rather than the colloquial. Slang generally is to be barred. Discrimination in the use of words is an art. T h e synonym is convenient but dangerous, and it should be employed with great care. If the copy editor substitutes "assert" for "say," a common practice to obtain variety, he has altered the meaning perceptibly. T h e r e is a word to express every action, thought or emotion and it can be found with little difficulty. Synonyms must be used more freely in writing headlines, because of a "rule" against repeating words, but in copy no such freedom should be permitted. Variety can be achieved in many other ways than by abusing the synonym. Attempts at " f i n e " or literary writing often lead the reporter into triteness. A few such hackneyed phrases are: abreast of the times was the recipient of sigh of relief in social circles dull sickening thud

order out of chaos breathless silence effect an entrance goes without saying lingering illness

E D I TING T H E COPY

32 located his w h e r e a b o u t s n e w s leaked o u t m u c h in e v i d e n c e beat a hasty retreat in t h e b u s i n e s s world was an impressive sight sadder but wiser d e a f e n i n g crash general public

i n c l e m e n t weather limped into port lodged in jail m a d e g o o d his e s c a p e s u m m o n e d medical aid blunt i n s t r u m e n t take into c u s t o d y c r o w d e d to capacity

T h e r e are scores of others. T h e copy editor should change them. It is absurd also to strain to avoid repetition of words, particularly names; as "capital city" for Washington; "Bay State for Massachusetts; "the Western metropolis" for any large city in the West. Directness and simplicity are the easiest ways to avoid such expressions. PUNCTUATION

Punctuation promotes clarity when properly used. Sentences that need little p u n c t u a t i o n , however, are in general the better. T o indicate the need of c o m m a s and how their use can alter meaning, the following sentences may be studied: T h e boys and girls w h o were o n t h e g r o u n d floor escaped. T h e boys and girls, w h o were o n t h e g r o u n d floor, cscaped. T h e m a n w h o is an atheist will be imprisoned. T h e m a n , w h o is an atheist, will be imprisoned. Fifty delegates w h o live in N e w York will b e sent. Fifty delegates, w h o live in N e w York, will be sent. T h e w o m a n w h o is a singer is happy. T h e w o m a n , w h o is a singer, is happy.

T h e mistakes of punctuation most frequent in newspaper copy occur in the use of quotation marks. Every quotation

EDITING THE

COPY

must be closed and the c o p y editor, on seeing an

33 opening

q u o t a t i o n m a r k , m u s t b e c e r t a i n t h a t t h e q u o t e d m a t t e r is e n d e d w i t h a q u o t a t i o n m a r k . Q u o t e d p a s s a g e s s u c h as t h e f o l l o w i n g a p p e a r o f t e n in n e w s p a p e r s : He said he thought it was " n o w m o r e important than ever for our country to d e m a n d the tightest possible monitoring and control of spent n u c l e a r fuels, but a prerequisite f o r success in this program is a consistent struggle to control n u c l e a r w e a p o n s through the stategic arms limitation process. W e simply m u s t prove to doubting nations that we will do o u r part in controlling the atomic arms race so that the others c a n be i n d u c e d not to join it. As a matter of fact, this is required u n d e r the n u c l e a r nonproliferation treaty which w e have pledged to h o n o r . " A l t h o u g h this p r a c t i c e is d e f e n s i b l e , t h e b e t t e r m e t h o d is t o e d i t t h e p a s s a g e as f o l l o w s : H e said h e thought it was " n o w m o r e important than ever for our country to d e m a n d the tightest possible monitoring and control of spent n u c l e a r fuels, but a prerequisite f o r success in this program is a consistent struggle to control n u c l e a r w e a p o n s through the strategic arms limitation p r o c e s s . " " W e simply must p r o v e to doubting nations that w e will d o our part in controlling the atomic arms race so that others can be induced not to join it," he c o n t i n u e d . " A s a matter of fact, this is required u n d e r the nonproliferation treaty w h i c h w e h a v e pledged to h o n o r . " It is w e l l t o e n d q u o t e d m a t t e r i n t r o d u c e d b y " h e said t h a t " with the phrase, c l a u s e or s e n t e n c e so introduced. N o t only d o e s it m a k e t h e w r i t i n g c l e a r a n d m o r e e f f e c t i v e , b u t it a l s o f o l l o w s t h e g e n e r a l n e w s p a p e r r u l e t o set o f f q u o t e d m a t t e r by p a r a g r a p h s s o t h a t it d r a w s a t t e n t i o n . GRAMMAR M i s t a k e s in g r a m m a r a r e o f s u c h v a r i e t y t h a t t h e c o p y e d i t o r or the student of j o u r n a l i s m m u s t be referred to the g r a m m a r b o o k s , if h e d o e s n o t h a v e a w o r k i n g k n o w l e d g e o f t h e r u l e s .

34

EDITING THE COPY

The more common blunders, for which the copy editor must be alert, are these: Disagreement in Number Between Subject and Verb. Frequently the verb occurs so far away from the subject that the singular form is used when the subject is plural, or the plural form when the subject is singular. Again confusion may arise when the subject is a clause or when the subject is, for example, "one of the members," or like phrases. The incorrect verbs should be noted in the following illustrations: T h e cross-examination of the witness by the defense and the ruling by the court on t h e admissibility of his evidence was put off until tomorrow. In outlining a set of recommendations for the industry to solve its problems, he warned those who still believe the industry will survive, even if not one of his recommendations are carricd out, that there is no escaping the truth. . . .

Dangling Participles. In the following illustrations, the first sentence is incorrect, the second and third correct: Having summed u p for two hours, a recess was ordered and the lawyer left. Having summed u p for two hours, the lawyer left after a recess had been ordered. After he had summed up for two hours, a recess was ordered and t h e lawyer left.

In the following the dangling participle is at the end: T h e two prisoners made a complaint at the station house where they were taken by the policeman alleging extortion

It should read: T h e two prisoners made a complaint, alleging extortion, at the station house where they were taken by the policeman.

Sequence of Tenses. The copy editor should keep close watch on the governing verb (that of the main news story) and relate

EDITING T H E COPY

35

the tenses of other verbs to it, as determined by the obvious or implied time sequence. The time of the main news story is almost always placed in the past tense. The historical present has become obsolete in newspaper writing. When the governing verb is in the past, the verbs in clauses dependent upon it also take past tense, even though the idea of past time does not need to be introduced into the clause. This fact should be kept in mind, for no rule is more commonly violated in newspaper writing. This sequence is called normal sequence, and while the present, or vivid sequence, is often retained in speech, it is not good newspaper practice. For example: "He said that he is well-to-do," is permissible; but "He said that he was well-to-do" is the normal sequence and preferable in newspaper writing. In the news story the events related almost always are previous in time to that of the governing verb, which, generally, is in the past tense. Therefore, many of the verbs will be necessarily in the past perfect tense to show previous time. In this example the tenses in the clauses are incorrect: He testified that he saw the accused man at the scene but that his suspicions were not aroused.

It is obvious that the events the witness is telling about are previous to the time at which he is telling about them. The sentence should read: He testified that he had seen the accused man at the scene but that his suspicions had not been aroused.

Frequently this construction is met with in newspaper writing: He saw the accused man at the scene, he testified, but his suspicions were not aroused.

36

E D I T I N G T H E COPY

This is correct. It would be incorrect to write this sentence in this way: H e had seen t h e a c c u s e d m a n at the s c e n c . he testified, but his suspicions had not been aroused.

T h e reason is that the words "he testified' are parenthetical and are not, in this case, those that govern the tense sequence of the other parts of the sentence. In the first case the facts asserted by the witness are clauses, and the tenses are governed by " h e testified." In the second case, they are not clauses and are not governed by the parenthetical "he testified." T h e normal sequence has one exception. When the fact set forth in the clause is permanently true, the tense of the clause is not governed by the main verb. For example, one says: H e said that the world is round (not was round).

In keeping the proper relation between the main verb and subordinate verb forms, an infinitive construction should have the present tense unless it represents action prior to that of the governing verb. It is incorrect to write: It was unfortunate for him to have testified that he had seen the accused m a n at the scene.

It should read: It was u n f o r t u n a t e for him to testify that he had seen the accused m a n at the scene.

A common mistake is to use a present participle in conjunction with a verb in the past tense. Here is an example: Falling four stories and crashing through a skylight, John Jones, a painter, was saved from serious injury yesterday when he landed on a stack of books.

E D I T I N G T H E COPY

37

It should read: Having fallen four stories and (having) crashed through a skylight, John Jones, a painter, was saved from serious injury yesterday when he landed on a stack of books.

False Passive or "Was Given" Construction. The subject in the active form of a sentence represents the actor, and the object, the receiver of the action; also, when the active form is changed to the passive, the receiver of the action becomes the subject, and the actor, if expressed, is represented as the object of a preposition. When a sentence in the active form contains both a direct and an indirect object, mistakes often are made in giving the passive construction. Frequently the indirect object in the active form is used as the subject in the passive form, but this makes an incorrect construction known as the false passive. Note these sentences. Active: They gave him their heartfelt thanks for his trouble. False passive: He wds given their heartfelt thanks for his trouble. True passive: Their heartfelt thanks were given to him for his trouble. The first sentence contains both a direct and an indirect object. T h e direct object is the noun thanks and the indirect object is the pronoun him. In the second sentence it will be observed that the subject is represented by the word that is the indirect object in the active form of the sentence, and the predicate verb, which is passive, seems to be followed by an object. The third sentence shows the true passive form. Pronouns and Antecedents. T h e copy editor should be vigilant to eliminate the pronoun "it" from copy, because the word almost always leaves the intent ambiguous. When repeating a subject is necessary for clarity, repeat it or rephrase the sentence. Likewise, when several persons are mentioned in one sentence, the pronouns "he" and "she" should be

38

EDITING THE COPY

avoided unless it is unmistakable what subject is intended. However, if the meaning is clear, the copy editor should not hesitate to strike out a noun and write a pronoun when the repetition of the noun makes the sentence awkward. Note the ambiguity of pronouns in the following: After the Governor and the Lieutenant-Governor had conferred for two hours concerning the advisability of levying additional taxes to balance the budget, he announced that a decision would be made within a week. When the questioning of the witness had been completed, it was said at the District Attorney's office that the case would be laid before the grand jury next week only if it could be speeded. TYPOGRAPHICAL S T Y L E

Every newspaper of standing has its own style for the spelling of many words, for abbreviations and for capitalization, and also special rules governing the quotation of titles of books, plays, songs, etc. S o m e examples of variation of spelling are the following: dominos buses catalogue gray disk gibe plow vendor referenda

dominoes busses catalog grey disc jibe plough vender referendums

criticize controller anesthetic ax calibre pretense theatre glamour

criticise comptroller anaesthetic axe caliber pretence theater glamor

T h e r e are wide differences in capitalization also. Many newspapers capitalize "President" when it stands alone and refers to the President of the United States; and all other titles when they stand alone and refer to a particular man, such as "the G o v e r n o r , " "the M a y o r , " and "the Senator ' (but "the governors," "the mayors" and "the senators"). Street is capi-

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talized when it refers to Wall Street, but some newspapers lower-case the "s" when street is part of an address. Concerning abbreviations, it should be noted that some occur in headlines, where brevity is essential, but are not permitted in copy. Some of those permitted in copy are " G o v . " for Governor, when followed by the name; " C o l . " for colonel (and most other military titles when followed by the name); but not "Pres." for President, nor " S e n . " for Senator, even in headlines. It is permitted to abbreviate long names of organizations, such as U N E S C O , A . F . L . - C . I . O and F . C . C . , but this practice is restricted to organizations whose names are thoroughly familiar to readers. Some newspapers quote the titles of books, plays, songs and pictures; others do not. Still others quote some but not all. T h e stylebook of the newspaper is the only guide in these cases and the copy editor should be familiar with its contents.

KRRORS OF F ACT T h e constant effort of the newspaper is to detect and to correct or eliminate errors of fact. T o this end the copy and the proofs are examined by many persons; but on the copy editor falls the chief burden. Such mistakes are most frequent in dates, locations, and in the characterization or description of past events. A distinction should be made between current events and those that are a matter of record. In the present, the facts of a situation may not be fully established. For example, the newspaper may print a story, based on the most accurate information available at the moment, saying that the victim of a murder was shot at Avenue X and Fifteenth Street. T h e following day, the case having been further clarified, the story may say that the victim was shot in his apartment at Avenue

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A and Sixtieth Street, and thrown into the street at the place where he was found. Such variation as this cannot be considered in the same light as in cases where the facts are fully known and recorded. This does not m e a n , however, that every effort should not be made to establish the truth of the statements in every story, no matter how minor it may appear in relation to other news. Serious consequences may follow from the printing of an incorrect n a m e or address. In past events, however, the facts are a matter of record. In the following illustrations several mistakes are made, any one of which might occur in a news story: T h e disaster recalled the sinking of the Titanic o n April 14-15, 1915, in which 1,513 lives were lost after the American liner hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic. Seven years after the first American flight into space, U.S. Astronaut Neil R. Armstrong, c o m m a n d e r of the Apollo 11 mission, bec a m e the first m a n to set foot on the m o o n o n July 20, 1968.

Every fact and figure in these examples should be suspected by the copy editor and checked. After reference to an almanac containing records such as these or to the "morgue" clippings, he would edit the sentences as follows: T h e disaster recalled the sinking of the Titanic o n April 14-15, 1912, in which 1,513 lives were lost after the British liner hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic. Eight years after the first American flight into space, U.S. Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, c o m m a n d e r of the Apollo 11 mission, bec a m e the first man to set foot o n the m o o n o n July 20, 1969.

T h e facts of a story must be consistent. If those in one paragraph contradict or cast doubt upon those in another paragraph, a change must be made in one case or the other. If the route of a robber's flight is described in one part of the story, he cannot be permitted to flee by any other route in

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a n o t h e r part o f t h e story. S h o u l d t h e lead of t h e story say that t h e M a y o r d e n o u n c e d waste in the city departments, t h e lang u a g e o f his s t a t e m e n t m u s t be, in fact, denunciatory. If h e mildly criticizes o n l y or suggests reforms, the lead m u s t so describe his a c t i o n . E a c h n e w s story is a problem in clear, logical p r e s e n t a t i o n . H e r e is an e x a m p l e o f a n i n c o n s i s t e n t lead: Angered by criticism of "extravagance" in the city government, Mayor Blank d e n o u n c e d waste of the taxpayers' money before the city council yesterday and demanded that retrenchments be made "all along the line." H e warned the heads of departments that 25 percent reductions should be made in requests for funds in the next budget and that if drastic cuts were not m a d e he might discover ways to make them. T h e Mayor spoke heatedly for twenty minutes and left the meeting abruptly. Action on several important measures had been on t h e calendar, but all were put over until the next session on Tuesday "I have heard m u c h criticism of the cost of the government of the city," said the Mayor. "This criticism must be stopped by efforts to reduce expenditures all along the line. T h e President of the Board of Trade declares that, with a little effort, slashes of as m u c h as 25 percent can be m a d e in the next budget. Perhaps it can be done. If you c a n n o t do it, I may find ways to do it. If we fail, we can let our critics point t h e way. " T h e taxpayers' money must not be wasted. Every dollar of it must be spent carefully and a dollar's worth of service obtained for it. But I ain tired of continual attacks on this administration by persons who do not realize the m o u n t i n g cost of every city department." S u c h m i s r e p r e s e n t a t i o n as is c o n t a i n e d in the phrases "den o u n c e d waste" and " d e m a n d e d r e t r e n c h m e n t s " might easily o c c u r if an a t t e m p t is m a d e to "sensationalize" the story. In the f o r e g o i n g , the Mayor's words c a n certainly b e interpreted as a w a r n i n g and as a retort to his critics, but n o more. T h e c o p y editor m u s t s o f t e n the terms used to bring the lead into c o n f o r m i t y with t h e q u o t e d statement.

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42 THE LEAD

T h e copy editor must know how to construct a story and must understand the importance o f making the lead or introduction attract the attention of the reader. T h e r e are two kinds o f leads: o n e which puts the climax first, summarizing the important facts in the first few paragraphs; and the "delayed" lead, or feature-story lead, that works up to the climax later in the story. T h e first kind is the m o r e c o m m o n ; it tells the news immediately and forcefully. T h e second, reserved for special types of stories, sets the mood and reaches the news point at a later stage. This lead illustrates the direct method: Tears, fainting spells and charges of "backbiting" and "politics" marked the final judgments on the show prizes of the thirtieth annual show of the Atlantic Cat Club yesterday. Although the judges reached quick decisions for most of the eight prizes awarded, a three-hour discussion and the services of a series of referees were required to settle whether a black cat with green eyes or a red cat of unknown parentage deserved the title of best novice and the accompanying $25 prize. H e r e is a delayed, or feature-story, lead: 1 Up six flights of stairs at 129 East Ninety-seventh Street, turn right in the gloomy hall and ring the bell on John Costen's door. You hear the soft, brushing movement of a hand on the inside panel, a fumbling on the knob and the door opens. John Costen has been blind for years. But he was cheerful last night. Something like animation brightened the sightless gray eyes as he told about Dick, who swallowed the poker. Dick is his pet collie. Spends hours with him at the news stand on the northeast corner of Lexington Avenue and Ninety-sixth Street. Dick will be back from the hospital today. "Best dog in the world," said Costen, "but maybe a little too active. He's only a year old, you see. Two weeks ago he was playing around 1

By the late Meyer Berger of The New York Times.

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here in the kitchen. I couldn't see him, of course. He reaches up and grabs the stove poker in his m o u t h and the handle comes off. A wire at the end of it got caught in Dick's tongue and, trying to get rid of that, he kept swallowing more and more of the handle." One of the neighbors rushed Dick to a veterinarian in Yorkville, but he could not help. And there was the collie with a piece of iron six inches long and one inch around in his innards. He was taken to the Ellen Prince Speyer Hospital for Animals. "They took an X-ray picture of him right away," Costen said, "and a friend of mine said it looked pretty bad, but Dr. Meyer, the veterinarian, gave Dick ether, opened Dick up, got the poker out and sewed him up again. He tells me he's as good as ever, and I'm going down today to get him."

Making certain that the facts in the lead are correct and that the construction is right constitute more than half the task of copy editing. In the case of the direct news lead, the questions who or what, where, when and why or how, must be answered. If the location of the news event is the most striking, it must come first; if the "who" or "what" is the news point, the lead must be shaped so that that fact is the most prominently displayed. Every opening word is important. The word "the" should be used as little as possible in beginning a story, but it is not necessary to strain language or torture sentence structure to avoid it. To prevent using the word "the" as the opening word of a story, the participial clause was invented; but the method has been much abused. An example of the "who" lead follows: CAIRO, Oct. 6—President Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt was shot and killed today by a group of men in military uniform who hurled hand grenades and fired rifles at him as he watched a military parade commemorating the 1973 war against Israel.

The following illustrates the "what" lead: LISBURN, Northern Ireland, Oct. 1—The British Army's role in maintaining order in Northern Ireland has decreased significantly

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both in the numbers involved and in the missions assigned, while the Royal Ulster Constabulary has assumed increased responsibility for security. H e r e is a "where" lead: L O N D O N , July 12—London and other British cities hit by nine days of rioting appeared generally calm today as heavy police reinforcements managed to contain sporadic outbreaks of vandalism by roaming youth gangs. T h i s is a "why" or "how" lead: W A S H I N G T O N . April 29—The United States ended two decades of military involvement in Vietnam today with the evacuation of about 1,000 Americans and more than 5,000 South Vietnamese from Saigon. T h e "when" lead is illustrated in the following·. W A S H I N G T O N , Aug. 8—On his 2.027th and penultimate day as President of the United States, with his staff and family unable to conceal their anguish, Richard M. Nixon went composedly through the schedule of a busy President. If it is necessary to give authority to the story, the responsibility should b e fixed at o n c e . If the person making a statem e n t is important, that is a vital point in the story and his n a m e should appear as quickly as possible. O f t e n a story is a story merely o n a c c o u n t of the person or persons involved in it. A good rule for the c o p y editor is to let e v e n man assume responsibility for his o w n statements or actions. It is not necessary for t h e newspaper to d o so. Here is illustrated the wrong way to write a story, in w h i c h responsibility s h o u l d have b e e n fixed at o n c e and the authority cited: T h e city's policy toward relief for the unemployed was condemned as "political" and as seeking to use public money to strengthen the hold of one party on the voters at a luncheon yesterday of the South-

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side Chamber of Commerce. After a strong plea had been made for an inquiry into the distribution and use of the $3,000,000 fund to aid the destitute through the winter, a resolution was adopted demanding that the Mayor instruct the City Controller to investigate immediately and to report promptly. The attack was made by James A. Osgood, banker, who was the chairman of the campaign to raise private funds to supply jobs to 10,000 heads of families. He has long been an intimate friend of the Mayor and has previously supported the city's activities to relieve distress. T h e following illustrates the proper method: James A. Osgood, banker, who was chairman of the campaign to raise private funds to supply jobs to 10,000 heads of families, and who has long been an intimate friend of the Mayor, condemned yesterday the city's policy toward relief for the unemployed as "political" and as seeking to use public money to strengthen the hold of one party on the voters. The attack was made at a luncheon of the Southside Chamber of Commerce. After Mr. Osgood had made a strong plea for an inquiry into the distribution and use of the $3,000,000 fund to aid the destitute through the winter, the Chamber adopted a resolution demanding that the Mayor instruct the City Controller to investigate immediately and to report promptly. A point to be remembered about leads is that the lead is not always restricted to o n e sentence and may be more than one paragraph. THF. DKVKLOPMF.NT

W h e n the lead is satisfactory, the development of the rest of the story is comparatively simple. T h e reporter or copy editor should make sure that the narrative, exposition or description develops logically or naturally. In the case of the direct news lead, in which the story is summarized or the main point emphasized, a c o m m o n practice is to return at once to

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the time when the storv naturally starts and tell the events in the order in which they happened. Another method is to relate the occurrences in the order of their importance, rather than in sequence, but it requires more ingenuity to insure a smooth development. Skill in transition is required to avoid a jerky effect. T h e "sequence" method of developing a news story after the lead is illustrated thus: Surprised and overpowered by hold-up men they had been sent to capture, two detectives of the Second Avenue Station faced departmental charges last night because they had allowed themselves to be robbed of their revolvers and bound with other victims at Second Avenue and Third Street. A robbery there Monday night, carried out with more than 60 policemen in the vicinity, was kept secret by the police until yesterday morning. Then it became known that three gunmen had escaped from the offices of the XYZ Company with $2,000 and that the two policemen who had started out in the role of captors had become captives. One of the men was Detective A. B. Jones, a veteran of the force, and the other was Detective R. A. Smith, who has been commended for arresting armed robbers. At about 10 o'clock Monday night, according to F. O. Adams, manager of the company, he had taken the day's receipts of $2,000 from the safe, placed them in his pocket and was preparing to go home when three men entered. When he attempted to fight them one intruder struck Adams three times on the head with the butt of a pistol. Once inside, each of them drew a second pistol and rounded up two drivers who were on the premises. Adams did not know that detectives had been called but he learned later that the thieves had failed to notice the presence of a night watchman, who telephoned for the police. The robbers searched Adams, found the $2,000 and then ordered him to open the safe. Then a knock sounded on the door. "One of the robbers opened the door and said, 'Come right in gentlemen,'" said Adams. "Smith came in first and Jones right after him. Neither one had his revolver drawn. Then the robbers ordered the detectives . . . "

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In this example the development of the story begins with the phrase "at about 10 o'clock Monday night" and continues chronologically to give the details. T h e development of facts in the order of their importance is more difficult, as this illustration shows: [1] WASHINGTON, March 31—First hearings on the President's Federal securities measure went swiftly forward today in House and Senate committees, developing some difference of opinion and bringing out testimony that of $50,000,000,000 in securities floated in this country in the last thirteen years half had proved either "worthless or undesirable." [2] Chairman X of the Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee of the House, in which lengthy testimony was taken today, said that hearings would end Monday noon at the latest and possibly tomorrow. [3] The Senate Banking and Currency Committee, which held a short hearing today, indicated that it would await action by the House, which is expected to come not later than the middle of next week. [4] The conflict of opinion arose among Congressional leaders over just what securities the pending act would apply to. Senator Y, the Democratic leader, said that "if you don't apply the law to existing securities you lose 90 percent of the value of the law," and it was his opinion that the measure would be made to apply to all outstanding issues. [5] This was in sharp disagreement, however, with the views of the authors of the measure, including a former chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, and a representative of the Attorney General. [6] They told the House committee that the law could apply only to flotations hereafter made or to securities which have already been authorized but not advertised or offered for sale to the public before the effective date of the new act. [7] House Democratic leaders are preparing to make a determined stand for the securities measure, this determination being strengthened by intimations that some classes of issues would seek to have themselves exempted from the "pitiless publicity" requirements of the measure. [8] While they laid plans for swift action on the first step of the President's permanent program of protection for investors and de-

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positors, the two o t h e r steps, to establish better supervision of the stock and commodity exchanges and eliminate unethical and unsafe banking practices, continued in abeyance pending action on the securities bill. [9] Informal consideration of these subjects was going forward, however, both in official and business circles. A special committee of t h e C h a m b e r of C o m m e r c e of the United States recommended in a report a single, unified commercial banking system for the country. T h e report suggested that every commercial bank, as distinguished from an investment institution, should ultimately be part of the Federal Reserve System. [10] Sponsors of t h e securities act had not been informed tonight how m a n y types of security issuers would seek to avoid its provisions. It was reported that railroad companies would oppose vigorously their inclusion in t h e part of the measures which compels detailed information about t h e issuer in any advertisement of a security flotation. [11] An appeal was m a d e openly to the House Committee to exempt building a n d loan associations from the requirement for registration of every security issue. This plea was made on the basis that such registration would work great inconvenience to many mutual building and loan societies, while the fee would work financial hardship. [12] T h e railroad companies are not included among the issuers required by t h e act to register detailed information with the Federal T r a d e Commission, since their securities must be passed upon under present law by t h e Interstate C o m m e r c e Commission. [13] But the exemptions to railroad companies are not repeated u n d e r the section providing for information that must be set forth if a stock issue is advertised to the public. [14] U n d e r that provision the railroads, if they advertised a stock or bond issue or if o n e were advertised for them by an investment house, would have to set forth an account of the whole transaction, including the fees to be paid to the bankers for handling the loan, the n a m e of t h e underw riting syndicate, the capital structure of the railroad, including its assets and liabilities, and its profits and losses during t h e year just preceding the offering. [15] Representative Ζ of New York, former chairman of the commerce c o m m i t t e e and an authority on the railroad problem, insisted that jurisdiction over flotations of the carrier companies should be left entirely to t h e Interstate C o m m e r c e Commission, as at present. [16] T h e H o u s e committee spent the greater part of the day lis-

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tening to an explanation of the bill by the former chairman of the F . T . C . , who took it up section by section, giving the history and the purpose of each and discussing with members the feasibility or desirability of changes here and there in the text. [17] Out of it all came the clear indication that the framers of the measure as well as the Democrats of the committee proposed to stand by it practically as written. They had already concluded that the bill was virtually "airtight." [18] Questions from the Republican side left an inference that an attempt would be made to make the bill more specific as to the control of the Federal Trade Commission over the floatation of foreign securities in the United States. [19] Under the terms of the bill the American underwriting syndicate or agent of a foreign government or industrial enterprise is compelled to register any proposed issue along with the information required. T h e only veto power the commission would have would be to revoke the registration and thus outlaw the issue. [20] Representative X Y of New Jersey insisted that the commission should have authority to stop foreign flotations without subterfuge. [21] T h e witness answered that blunt action of that nature might offend sensitive governments to the point that they would construe it as an unfriendly act. He related that the State Department had practically such authority all along but hesitated to use it on that account. [22] T h e chief of the Foreign Service Division of the Department of Commerce said that the State Department had been "very reluctant" to concern itself with foreign stock issues because of the lack of specific law on the subject. He said that under the pending act the Federal Trade Commission could discuss any particular foreign issue with the Cabinet officers involved and with representatives of the foreign power, and, on the basis of facts developed, ask the borrowing government to withdraw its issue if undesirable or of doubtful worth. [23] "If the government in question should persist in its offering and refuse to withdraw its security issue, then the Federal Trade Commission could revoke its registration and no offense legitimately could be taken," he said. [24] Under questioning of Mr. X Y , he estimated that $12,000,000,000 in foreign securities, both governmental and private, had been issued in this country. He declined to estimate how many had gone into default, saying simply that a "very substantial portion" had either "gone bad" or deteriorated to the point of worthlessness.

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[25] He was also authority for the estimate that $50,000,000,000 in securities had been floated in the United States in thirteen years, and that about half of them proved undesirable or worthless. [26] "This law is designed to stop that sort of business," he said. [27] T h e former F . T . C , chairman explained in his testimony that the bill was based on the theory that adequate public information about security issues would amply protect the public. [28] "We can't protect fools," he said, "but we can give investors every reasonable opportunity to obtain information through the Federal Trade Commission on securities offered for sale." [29] He referred frequently to the British securities act, from which many of the bill's ideas were taken, and to the Martin act of New York State, from which the language was copied. [30] He also referred often to a copy of the book of Associate Justice Brandéis of the Supreme Court on "Other People's Money . " [31] A model advertisment for stock issues under the proposed law was lifted bodily from this book and placed in the record. [32] The Attorney General's representative declared that the bill's purpose could be summed up in the words: "Pitiless publicity of all facts of which purchasers of securities should be informed." T h i s story merits the c l o s e reading a n d analyis of the student of j o u r n a l i s m . N o t only is a long a n d c o m p l i c a t e d story well d e v e l o p e d as to the lead a n d s u b s e q u e n t structure, but it also shows excellent c o n d e n s a t i o n of the m a s s of testimony taken b e f o r e the H o u s e c o m m i t t e e . It will b e noted that the first three p a r a g r a p h s constitute the lead, stating the highlights of the s t o r y — t h a t hearings went forward swiftly o n the securities m e a s u r e , that d i f f e r e n c e s of o p i n i o n d e v e l o p e d , that testimony was given that half the h u g e total of securities floated in this c o u n t r y in thirteen years was of d o u b t f u l v a l u e — a n d m a k i n g clear the status of the bill in C o n g r e s s . T h e d e v e l o p m e n t of the story begins with p a r a g r a p h 4 with the transition words " t h e conflict of o p i n i o n a r o s e " which, reiterating a p h r a s e in p a r a g r a p h 1 in a l m o s t identical words, shows that that p h r a s e of the lead is to be dealt with. P a r a g r a p h s 5 and 6 elaborate this, e a c h p a r a g r a p h d e v e l o p i n g s m o o t h l y f r o m the preceding

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one because of the transition words "this was in sharp disagreement" and "they told the House committee." Paragraph 7 introduces two new subjects—the Democratic leaders' attitude and the demand for exemptions from the provisions of the bill—which can be expected to come up again later in detail. Paragraph 8 brings in still another subject that is almost parenthetical—the status of other bills relating to the same situation—but it is done smoothly with the clause "while they laid plans for swift action." Paragraph 9 elaborates paragraph 8 and that phase of the story is then completed. Paragraph 10 begins the development of the "exemption phase" of the story, first stated in paragraph 7, and is also elaboration of the lead point of "difference of opinion." Paragraphs 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 continue and complete this subject. Paragraph 16 gives in detail the hearing before the House committee, one of the lead points, and recurs to paragraph 5 where the former F.T.C, chairman is mentioned as a witness. Paragraph 17, worked in smoothly with the clause "out of it all came the clear indication," elaborates and explains paragraph 7. Paragraph 18, elaborated in paragraphs 19, 20 and 21, refers inferentially to the lead point concerning worthless securities, a phase of the story that is given in full detail in paragraphs 22, 23, 24, 25, and 26. The former trade commission official's testimony is dealt with in paragraphs 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31. Paragraph 32 touches on the testimony of the Attorney General's aide, mentioned specifically in paragraph 5. To recapitulate briefly, three points were stated in the lead, necessitating their elaboration and substantiation in the development in the order of importance. The difference of opinion was dealt with first, then the detail of the hearing bringing

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out various phases of the differences, and then the testimony concerning worthless securities. It is beside the point whether there is agreement on this order of news values; the writer so rated t h e m and developed his story accordingly. It may be of interest to note that the headline for this story was "Securities Hearing Divides Leaders; Measure Is Rushed." While transition sentences or phrases are less c o m m o n in newspaper writing than elsewhere, they preserve the unity of the story. This is particularly true, as in the foregoing case, when one point in the lead has been amplified and another is to be taken up. Transition phrases frequently seen are "earlier in the day," "just before his arrival" and "prior to this development." T h e word "meanwhile" or the phrase "in the meantime" serve also for transition when the story turns to events that happened simultaneously with those previously related. In the lead, the striking points have been summarized only. In the development, these points must be amplified but not repeated as matters of new fact. If the copy editor discovers that they are not mentioned again, there is something wrong with the development, or the inclusion of those points in the lead is questionable. Every fact in the lead must be supported later in detail; or it must be dealt with to the extent of giving enough background facts to show why it is important. Such a case as this occurs often. A man mentioned as a candidate for office may, in the course of an otherwise routine speech, indicate that he will enter the contest or that he will not. This fact alone makes a story and is, of course, the lead. But the bald statement cannot stand alone. T h e background must be told by the reporter or supplied by a rewrite man or the copy editor to show the significance of the action. T h e statement is lifted from its context to construct the news story

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properly, but substance must be given to it by showing why it is important. In modern journalism it is no longer felt that the five W's must be set forth at once or completely. In the interest of clear and simple writing it is now considered better to state the main point tersely, readably and forcefully, letting the contributory facts follow in a natural development of the story. This is a step in the direction of informing the reader faster. To insure his attention and comprehension, one idea to one sentence is regarded as essential. And the shorter the sentence the better. Involved also is the need to give background and essential interpretation to inform the reader fully. This new element of reporting deserves some discussion. Fundamentally, a fact is a physical thing—a fire, an automobile crash, a speech, a convention—which are events that can be recorded in a straightforward account. But consider the instance of Senator Jones, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who makes a speech on the floor of the Senate giving his views of the current crisis and his proposals for meeting it. The only facts are that he spoke and that he made proposals which will be quoted at the necessary length and the text printed if warranted by his importance and the nature of his solution. This would meet the old, and largely continuing, formula of news writing. Is this enough? The crisis Senator Jones is dealing with might be a crucial episode in United States relations with a foreign power and to report only his remarks might leave the reader in the dark. He is not fully informed and certainly not enlightened. The speech must be set in a background of the whole complex picture of foreign relations at the moment, the position

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of this and other countries, how their policies can be affected by the views of this important official, what Washington reaction and that of other capitals is or might be. T o meet current requirements of news writing, it probably would be necessary to employ the time-honored "informed sources," "a spokesman," "observers," "persons close to the Secretary" and the like. There is a danger here to the accepted principle that news should be gathered and published objectively. There is a thin line between interpretation and opinion. Great skill in phrasing is required to add perspective and depth to a set of facts without expressing or indicating a point of view. Nevertheless these goals—simplicity, clarity, depth and perspective—are increasingly needed as local, national and foreign situations become more complex. There is a growing need also to inform newspaper readers quickly because of the keen competition for a share of their leisure time. THKSENTENCE

T h e short simple sentence is the most effective for news writing. As in every other kind of writing, however, there must be variety. A common misconception among beginners is that the first sentence must contain the answers to the questions who or what, where, when and why or how. This leads invariably to an involved sentence structure that is neither clear nor effective. T h e copy editor should break up long sentences, even though they may be clear. T h e effect of a sentence is lost if a dozen lines of type must be read before the end is reached. T h e involved one-sentence lead is illustrated thus: Returning to the city yesterday from a two-week vacation in the South, Governor Anderson issued a statement of defiance to his

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opponents, who, according to reports in political circles, are planning to "put him in a hole" over the tax measure that is expected to be drafted next week at a meeting of the Republican leaders, by throwing upon the executive the burden of seeking new sources of revenue and forcing the executive to shoulder the political consequences of what may prove to be an unpopular program, and declared that he was ready for a fight to the finish on the legislative measures that he considered to be of paramount importance at this session. A better way to write the lead is: Returning to the city yesterday from a two-week vacation in the South, Governor Anderson issued a statement of defiance to his opponents and declared that he was ready for a fight to the finish on the legislative measures that he considered to be of paramount importance at this session. T h e Republicans, according to reports in political circles, are planning to "put him in a hole" over the tax measure that is expected to be drafted next week at a meeting of the Republican leaders. They plan to throw upon the governor the burden of seeking new sources of revenue and force him to shoulder the political consequences of what may prove to be an unpopular program. Paragraphing is not haphazard and usually not an arbitrary breaking u p of the story into units for regular type display. Paragraphing, like s e n t e n c e structure, must follow the rules of rhetoric. For an extended discussion, grammar books should be consulted. In general, a paragraph indicates to the reader that a new subject or a n e w phase of the same subject is to be taken up. Everything relating to the same phase of the news story should, if possible, be in the same paragraph, alt h o u g h long paragraphs are as m u c h to be avoided as long sentences. For emphasis a separate paragraph may be made arbitrarily, and direct quotations usually should be paragraphed. T h e following is an example of bad paragraphing: A clamor over opening the road began when the state took control of it on- completion of the pipeline in 1977.

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Sportsmen wanted access to remote fishing and hunting areas. Business interests thought opening it might help the states economy. Miners wanted to get to their claims. But truckers believed tourists would create traffic hazards. Indians and Eskimos wanted to keep people out of their hunting areas, believing that whites who shoot for trophies and not for the meat would deplete the game. Safety conscious officials worried about tourists coming onto the highway, unfamiliar with the country and ill-equipped to look after themselves. "I resisted it being thrown wide open," said Gov. Jay Hammond. "I wanted it opened in stages." T h a t was what a Superior Court judge in Fairbanks ordered done in late winter. If paragraphed in the following m a n n e r , the unity of thought is retained: A clamor over opening the road began when the state took control of it on completion of the pipeline in 1977. Sportsmen wanted access to remote fishing and hunting areas. Business interests thought opening it might help the state's economy. Miners wanted to get to their claims. But truckers believed tourists would create traffic hazards. Indians and Eskimos wanted to keep people out of their hunting areas, believing that whites who shoot for trophies and not for the meat would deplete the game. Safety-conscious officials worried about tourists coming onto the highway, unfamiliar with the country and illequipped to look after themselves. "I resisted it being thrown wide open," said Gov. Jay Hammond. "I wanted it opened in stages." That was what a Superior Court judge in Fairbanks ordered done in late winter.

TONING DOWN AND BRIGHTENING UP

T h e c o p y editor frequently hears the order, "tone it down." T h i s m e a n s that the story has b e e n phrased t o o strongly or that the perspective is wrong. O f t e n the toning-down process c a n b e a c c o m p l i s h e d merely by eliminating adjectives, chang-

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ing strong verbs to milder ones and striking out words that characterize or describe in a manner that is distasteful. The order "clean it up" has a similar intent, but refers usually to crime or similar stories that are told in too explicit language. Good taste often is involved and it is the copy editor's task to eliminate offensive phases of the story. This kind of editing does not entail the suppression of facts; it merely requires that the story be told in polite language. Here is a story that should be toned down: JERSEY CITY, N.J., Jan. 12—Several neighbors saw Gustaf A. Petersen in his backyard at 101 Twenty-fifth Street, Union City, today sharpening a knife on a whetstone. At intervals Petersen stopped to examine the knife, which had a six-inch blade and was of a type used by shoemakers. Mrs. William Orr, whose kitchen window looks out over Petersen's yard, saw him examine the knife for the fourth or fifth time. T h e n , she told the police, she saw him smile as if pleased, raise t h e knife and slash his throat. She shouted for help. Several m e n climbed over fences to reach Petersen. He was taken to the North Hudson Hospital in Weehawken but he was dead on arrival there. Petersen was 51 years old and was a ship's carpenter.

The story may be edited as follows to remove the gruesome features: JERSEY CITY, N.J., Jan. 12—Gustaf A. Petersen, 51 years old, a ship's carpenter, committed suicide in his backyard at 101 Twentyfifth Street, Union City, today by slashing his throat with a knife. Mrs. William Orr, whose kitchen window overlooks Petersen's yard, saw his act and summoned help. Several neighbors told the police that they had seen Petersen in his yard whetting the knife, which had a six-inch blade and was of the type used by shoemakers.

"Brightening up" a story requires the judicious use of adjectives or of colorful or active verbs, or the "lifting" of a phrase or sentence from the detail of the story to the lead, helping to transform the whole from a dull account into an interesting one.

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Examine the following statistical story to see what can be done with it to make it of interest to readers. OSSINING, N.Y., Jan. 3—Sing Sing authorities disclosed today that a total of 1,740 lawbreakers were received at the prison last year, 1,038 were transferred by the warden to upstate prisons and that the prison population at the end of the year was more than 2,400. Besides those tranferred the total number of convicts was reduced by 555, 32 of whom died and 523 of whom were discharged. Four hundred and eighty were paroled; 10 were pardoned by the Governor: 9 won reversals of their convictions; certificates of reasonable doubt were granted to 2 and 14 were released for resentencing. Only 8 of those discharged from the prison served their maximum terms. It probably will be agreed that only one fact strikes the eye as being of general interest and that the last one: that "only eight served their maximum terms." T h e problem then is to make that fact the lead. It appears to be a rewrite man's work, but it can be edited by clipping the story in two between the paragraphs, writing a paragraph lead, editing the second paragraph to read smoothly from the new lead and editing the old lead to go at the end. This is how it will look: OSSINING, N.Y., Jan. 3—Only eight of 523 prisoners discharged from Sing Sing prison this year served their maximum terms, it was disclosed at the prison today. The total number of convicts was reduced by 32 deaths. Of the 523 discharged. 480 were paroled; 10 were pardoned by the Governor; 9 won reversals of their convictions; certificates of reasonable doubt were granted to 2 and 14 were released for resentencing. During the year 1,740 lawbreakers were received at the prison and 1,038 were transferred by the warden to upstate prisons. The prison population at the end of the year was more than 2,400. TRIMMING, C U T T I N G , AND BOILING DOWN

T h e copy editor frequently must shorten a story to fit into a space indicated, or to enable the editor in charge to keep within his total space allotment. This entails trimming, cut-

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ting, and boiling down, which are similar processes but which vary in degree. Trimming is a general tightening up of the story, chiefly by eliminating superfluous words and replacing loose phrases with single words that express the thought adequately. T h e following is an example of paragraphs that should be trimmed: The Governor, upon whom the duty of finding the necessary funds to keep the state machinery moving devolves, will deal in detail with the measures which he has formulated with this end in view, when his executive budget is presented to the law-making body next week. He has given little or no intimation as to what measure he will recommend to provide the necessary funds. It is the prevailing opinion among persons in his confidence, however, that he will resort to no new forms of taxation but will depend on increasing existing levies. It appears to be definitely known, however, by friends of the Governor that doubling of the present tax on gasoline will be asked. While the Governor declared entirely unfounded reports that the state treasury was nearly empty, he admitted that resort to short term borrowing might be necessary in order to provide funds for the administrative departments. The Assembly Republicans met in caucus tonight for the purpose of designating their leaders. Trimming will reduce these 163 words to 116, a saving of 47 words, or one-fourth of the space, thus: The Governor, who must find the necessary funds to keep the state machinery moving, will deal in detail with revenue measures when his executive budget is presented next week. He has given little intimation what measure he will recommend. It is the opinion of Piersons in his confidence, however, that he will resort to no new forms of taxation but will depend on increasing existing levies. It appears definite that doubling of the tax on gasoline will be asked. The Governor denied reports that the state treasury was nearly empty, but admitted short term borrowing might be necessary to provide funds for the administrative departments. The Assembly Republicans met in caucus tonight to designate their leaders.

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T w o phrases should b e noted: "in order to," w h i c h can nearly always b e s h o r t e n e d to "to"; and "for the purpose of," w h i c h also usually c a n b e expressed simply by "to." Boiling d o w n is m o r e drastic and is the process of close paring of all s e n t e n c e s and the sacrifice of minor facts. Here is a problem in boiling down: Several lame and elderly subway passengers, frightened by the lightning-like flashes of a short circuit, had to be assisted last night from the B M T tracks under Seventh Avenue to the street near Fortyninth Street by an emergency exit, followed by 200 other passengers, in an accident that caused a traffic tie-up for twenty minutes. No one was injured. T h e mishap occurred at 7:55 P.M. when a Brighton local train, headed north for Queens Plaza, was approaching the Forty-ninth Street station. A piece of equipment beneath one car came in contact with the third rail, causing the short circuit. T h e train had sufficient m o m e n t u m to carry it into the Forty-ninth Street station, where the engineer halted it to allow the passengers to be discharged. Soon after the train stopped, a northbound Fourth Avenue local approached on the same tracks. T h e engineer of this train, seeing the Brighton local in the station, stopped his train short of the station platform. T h e vivid electric flashes, lighting up the tunnel, frightened some of the passengers of the Fourth Avenue local. In a few moments, however, the power was shut off, leaving the train stranded several hundred feet from the Forty-ninth Street station platform. With the danger of the deadly third rail removed, the passengers on the crowded train were allowed to leave the cars. They scrambled to the tracks, picked their way through the darkness to the emergency exit, helping the more timid passengers as they went. During the twenty minutes in which the power was off all northbound local trains on the line were rerouted along the center tracks which run from Times Square and are used ordinarily for the shunting of express trains which end their runs at the Square. Boiling d o w n r e d u c e s the n u m b e r of words from 285 to 165, a saving of 120 words, or two-fifth of t h e space formerly re-

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quired, as follows: Several lame and elderly subway passengers, frightened by the flashes of a short circuit caused when a piece of equipment struck the third rail, had to be assisted last night from the B M T tracks under Seventh Avenue to the street near Forty-ninth Street by an emergency exit, followed by 200 other passengers. T h e accident tied up traffic for twenty minutes. No one was injured. T h e mishap occurred at 7:55 P.M. when a northbound Brighton local was approaching the Forty-ninth Street station. It had sufficient momentum to carry it into the station, where the passengers were discharged. Soon afterward, a Fourth Avenue local approached on the same tracks. T h e engineer stopped his train short of the station. T h e vivid electric flashes frightened some passengers but soon the power was shut off, leaving the train stranded. With the danger of the third rail removed, the passengers were allowed to leave the cars to grope through darkness to the exit. While the power was off all northbound local trains were rerouted. Cutting m e a n s t h e elimination of all but t h e most important facts, those without w h i c h t h e r e would be n o story or an inc o m p l e t e o n e . Often t h e r e is nothing left but t h e bare bones of a story with a shred or two o f clothing. M a n y news stories c a n be so r e d u c e d without loss to t h e reader. R o u t i n e c o u r t stories, which m u s t be published for o n e reason or a n o t h e r , c a n be c u t to brief, u n a d o r n e d recitals. H e r e is a story to be cut: New Yorkers are so accustomed to shouting at one another above the crash of steel and stone, the din of subways and noise of traffic that they shout over the dinner table in voices that are not musical but piercing and strident, Jack Robinson, the writer, told a radio audience yesterday afternoon over Station X Y Z . Mr. Robinson complained that even the exterior walls of buildings are sound boxes which hurl back noises into suffering ears, and as a remedy he suggested the use of acoustically treated surfacing. Speaking under the auspices of the New York Noise Abatement Commission, Mr. Robinson told his listeners that the most offensive

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noises originate with such transit facilities as subway trains, brakescreeching automobiles and horn-honking taxicabs. A group of piersons in a European restaurant and a group from a similar social background in a New York eating place, he went on, form a remarkable contrast. "In E u r o p e , " he said, "the conversation is subdued, yet far more audible because it is more musical than with us. You can't expect the New Yorker to bring his voice down again during the lunch or dinner hour if all the rest of the day he must compete with the crash of steel and stone around him." He added that our descendents will no doubt marvel that "we put u p with the torture of riveting machines which are building a house next door, but will marvel m u c h more that we endured so long without protest noises which were not temporary but part of our life from year's end to year's e n d . " W h e n cut, this story looks like this: New Yorkers are so accustomed to shouting at one another above the city's clamor that they shout over the dinner table in piercing and strident voices, Jack Robinson, the writer, told a radio audience yesterday afternoon over Station XYZ. He spoke under the auspices of the New York Noise Abatement Commission. Mr. Robinson complained that even the exterior walls of buildings are sound boxes which hurl back noises and suggested the use of acoustically treated surfacing. He said that the more offensive noises originate with subways, automobiles, trucks, and taxicabs. O u r descendants, he said, will marvel that we endured such din so long. T h e voices of Europeans, he added, are musical and, while subdued, more audible. By this m e t h o d t h e story of 264 words has b e e n reduced to 116 or to less than half. T h i s drastic treatment deDends wholly u p o n t h e space allotted to the story and is resorted to only in cases w h e r e the press of n e w s is so great that m u c h must be lost. FAIRNESS, PUBLICITY, AND LIBKI.

In any of t h e s e processes, care should be taken that n o elimination o f a fact leaves a w r o n g impression. Both sides to

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a dispute or lawsuit should have equal treatment. If the removal of a fact distorts the story in any respect, if a question is left in the mind, the fact should be retained. As to fairness, the copy editor should make sure that every party to a controversy gets a hearing. If a man is accused, an effort should be made to include his comment in the same story in which the charges are published. Sometimes this effort is indicated only by a sentence saying that the accused man "could not be reached for c o m m e n t . " This tends to show the impartiality of the newspaper. If no effort to obtain both sides of the story has been made, the copy editor should call the attention of the editor in charge to the failure to do so. While trimming, cutting or boiling down, the copy editor should take special pains to remove words or names that give unwarranted publicity to persons or things, or that tend to advertise improperly stores or other places or goods of anykind. He should also eliminate editorial opinion or any bias that tends, or might tend, to indicate an attitude or opinion by the newspaper or the copy editor himself. Some freedom is allowed in news stories that are written under a byline, that is, signed by the writer, but this leeway is limited by the policy of the newspaper. For example, a political writer is permitted in a signed story to express, usually in a highly qualified manner, his views of the outcome of a campaign. Libel is generally described as the publication of material that impeaches the honesty, integrity, virtue or reputation of a living person, thereby holding him up to public ridicule or contempt or causing him financial injury. It is not always possible to avoid printing some libelous statements, but if the newspaper is sued for damages, its defenses are four: (1) to prove that the defamatory statements were true; (2) to show

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that the statements were part of a court record or other official or public proceedings and therefore privileged; (3) to show that the publication was in good faith and without malice (this is not strictly a defense, but a plea in mitigation of damages); (4) to show that the person involved is a public official or a public figure. T h e copy editor should remember that such phrases as "it was said," "it was alleged," and "according to the police, are no protection against a libel suit, but they tend to show a lack of malice and are therefore valuable. T h e questions "Is it true?" and "Is it privileged?" serve as a general rule of t h u m b that will solve many problems of the copy editor. He should, however, become familiar with the libel laws of his state and have more than a slight acquaintance with ease histories. T h e copy editor should be careful to avoid anonymous or irresponsible statements. He should beware also of the "funny stories" lest the persons named or indicated be made to appear ridiculous. When the copy editor is in doubt about a point in a story, four courses are open to him. If the questioned fact is not vital, it may be deleted. This should be a last resort, however, not an easy way out of a difficult} . If the question can be cleared up by means of a reference book, it should be checked in that manner. If it can be checked only by reference to the reporter, he should be consulted. Questions of policy, taste or consistency usually are referred to the head of the desk for decision, and by him to higher editors if it becomes necessary. su BUI; A D S

Stories of more than half a column in length arc broken up by subheads. These are, in effect, small one-line headlines and should follow the rules for headlines; that is, to say some-

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thing, not to be merely labels. They are set in body type but have a blacker face. They should be placed about every quarter-column, but there should rarely be fewer than two. Practice varies as to where they should be placed, some newspapers requiring that they be inserted regularly for balance, and others requiring that they be placed at the natural "breaks" in the subject matter of the story. T h e purpose of subheads is to interrupt long stretches of type that are unattractive to the reader's eye and to indicate the subject matter of the type appearing under them. HEADLINES

When the copy has been edited with attention to the foregoing suggestions, the copy editor's next task is to write a headline for the story. T h e headline, which is fully considered in the second part of this book, must first be accurate, not only in point of fact but also in spirit. Facts can be so placed in reference to one another that a meaning apart from the words themselves may be derived. T h e headline also should tell the whole story, or as m u c h of it as space will permit, in a forceful and attractive way. It has been noted that students of journalism concentrate on headline writing more than on the editing of copy. This is perhaps owing to the fact that headline writing is a challenge to their ingenuity and that headlines show to better advantage than editing. No error could be graver. If such a point of view carries over into the newspaper work, the copy editor will be disillusioned speedily.

4 . ELECTRONIC EDITING

in the 1970's, the electronic industry devised and perfected computer-operated systems that revolutionized newspaper publishing. A business that had thrived for nearly 100 years on the performance of the linotype machine in producing newspapers had come on hard times and was slowly dying because of enormous production costs, largely for labor in the composing and proofrooms. The largest papers required hundreds of skilled workers in each of these departments, and in the composing room it also needed hundreds of costly linotype machines. In this period there were long months of negotiations between publishers and Big Six, the printer's union in New York, over automation, or the use of computerized tape to set newspaper type. The union resorted for months to delays and harassing tactics and in the end agreed to an eleven-year contract that opened the way to the all-important tape, the retraining of many of their members for other jobs in the field and the orderly retirement of many of the older members. The sole aim of the publishers was to meet the union's demands and insure the approval of automation. It was a costly settlement for the publishers and it has some years yet to run but it guaranteed a brighter future in which newspapers could exist, and profitably. It killed the linotype machine and thereby also the expensive composing rooms and EARLY

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proofrooms and ended the need for large manpower pools in both of them. Gone also were the myriad union rules that labor had set up to fatten its paycheck and limit the initiative of the owners. Out of this welter of invention and negotiations came an answer to the replacement of the linotype operator and the proofreader. When and how are not in the record but the key was obviously the nature of electronic computation itself. T o set type by electronic tape required a terminal keyboard, like a typewriter's, and an operator with information or news to put on that tape. This made the newspaper reporter the natural candidate for the job. All that had to be done was to retrain him to use a computer terminal keyboard. This was simple, since the reporter has long used the similar typewriter keyboard and he could familiarize himself quickly with other keys and buttons on the computer device. These keys and buttons had latent powers that, when summoned, transformed them into the fantastic star performers of modern journalism. T h e first step was for a reporter to learn how to enter the terminal to start a story, thus getting an identifying number for his story, and how to store the material or transfer it when he finished. Starting the story might be compared to putting paper in the typewriter, and storing or transferring it might be likened to the delivery of the paper to the desk or editor. When the terminal is turned on, the reporter can type away furiously and see all the words before him, but unless he has entered the terminal and gotten the identifying number, the words will have no permanence and will disappear as soon as the machine is turned off—sort of written on the light, rather than written on the wind.

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Going beyond the basics enables the reporter to make use of all the capabilities of the computer system like transposing phrases or moving paragraphs or larger blocs of type. One editor's comment on the uses and flexibility of the instrument was: I would emphasize that the use of the computer terminal makes writing and editing immeasurably easier than on paper. There's no need to x-out mistakes and retype; inserts can be made without cutting and pasting or writing small between the lines. Reporters as well as editors can move words, sentences, paragraphs, or whole chunks of stories just by pressing a few buttons. . . . And after each change, the press of another button will give you an updated word count. Once a story is hypenated and justified by the copy desk, the machine will measure its length in column inches.

At first glance it might appear that the reporter is the most affected by the electronic system, since he must master new mechanical procedures in a new medium to convert words and sentences (the news story) into electronic impulses and shape them into a cogent narration of an important or interesting event. But the fundamental rules of composing a news story are the same. T h e medium has changed, but not the method. T h e copy editor also must be retrained in the use of the computer terminal, and in more detail, because he must edit the story along the general lines covered in the preceding sections and also according to a mass of style rules that may be applicable to his paper alone. These govern word usage, abbreviations, use of titles and whether they are spelled out or not, use of slang or idiom. For example there is great variation among publications in the use of Ms. for Miss or Mrs. and the use of Mr. after the full name has been given. Both reporters and the copy desk must now be alert for detailed proofreading and correct any errors of fact, spelling,

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or grammar, and any violation of sty le rules of this publication. The final responsibility in this area is the copy editor's. It might be well to stress here that a computer system is as good as its programming. It can turn out agate, 72-point headlines, indent stories for picture cut-ins, change typefaces and perform other magical functions at the pressing of the proper keys, but the computer will not tell you if the grammar is right, or if the spelling is correct or the facts accurate. Similarly, the computer will tell you if the headline fits, but it won't say whether it is a good head. The great flood of news stories or information about them on any day or night in a newspaper office is kept track of by schedules or assignment sheets. Each department has one to show what each reporter is covering, and each department photostats its schedules and sends one or more to every other department. Each editor is thus kept aware of events in all areas. Schedules called directories are provided also by all wire services, and any story scheduled anywhere can be brought into the office by any computer terminal. It may be useful to follow a metropolitan story through the electronic chain. The assignment editor of the metropolitan desk keeps an assignment sheet showing the reporters' names and the slugs of the stories each is covering. As each returns from the assignment, the reporter is asked to write a summary of the event covered, which is distributed to all chief editors and given a space allotment. The reporter's name and the assignment editor's slug identify the copy generally; the computer supplies the designation of numbers, which include the circuit or "system" used so that when the reporter "stores" the product to await editing, it can be called back from the memory bank. Most systems are protected by entry codes to prevent unauthorized use of the computer.

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The reporter uses a keyboard on a computer terminal that contains the standard array of letters, numbers, punctuation, and symbols, but is also equipped with various electronic "command" keys that are used for all mechanical functions, such as spacing, corrections, insertions, deletions, transfer of words, sentences, or paragraphs, and justification of lines of type. The terminal also can be converted into a dual or split screen and thus call up two stories at once. This enables a reporter to have notes on one half of the screen while writing on the other, or to use another story as reference while one is being composed. Note that the use of the dual screen cuts down the number of lines that can be seen at one time. Thus on New York Times screens, the normal 26 lines is cut to 13 when dual screen is used. Also, the dual column mode shows the story in two parts, which speeds the scrolling up and down time, enabling a writer or editor to check on what has gone before. Again, the number of lines is reduced when this mode is used. By use of the alternate cursor, inserts can be transferred from one side of the screen to the other, allowing for the picking up of a long explanation from notes or reference material. The city or metropolitan desk and the local copy editors all are supplied with computer terminals just like the reporter's. As the editing process begins, the metropolitan editor or an assistant can recover each story from a memory bank for judgment as to its importance and its handling by the reporter. The story appears on the lighted screen and the editor makes any changes he wishes, all done electronically. If extensive revision is needed, the reporter is asked to revise the story and it is then restored to the memory bank to await detailed attention by the copy desk. The head of the copy desk also works from a schedule of

Reporter uses video display terminal (top) to compose story. Most computer systems using this type of e q u i p m e n t allow storing of material for further revision, cancellation of words and phrases rather than striking t h r o u g h , and calling up another story for reference by using the split-screen capability shown on the preceding page. Copy editors (bottom) edit stories on terminals, moving words, paragraphs or blocks of type a r o u n d , correcting spelling and grammar, coding material for type size and c o l u m n width, then sending the material to the composing room by the press of a button.

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